In a new piece for The Hill, ARPN expert panel member and author of the recently-released “Groundbreaking! America’s New Quest for Mineral Independence” Ned Mamula laments the United States’ long-standing ignorance and even shunning of “the importance of its mineral wealth.”
In spite of the fact that, as he says, mining is “the one economic sector that meets the American appetite for raw materials, gadgets, high-tech equipment, cars, jetliners and “renewable” energy technologies that we take for granted,” the United States has not only failed to use its mineral potential to its defense and economic benefit, but “‘boasts’ a growing list of groups that are openly hostile to extractive industries, especially mining.”
His latest case in point: The recently-introduced Hardrock Leasing and Reclamation Act of 2019, H.R. 2579, sponsored by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.). In Mamula’s view, two provisions of the bill, which he says is “loaded with painful and unnecessary elements,” stand out as particularly harmful.
“First, the proposed legislation would impose a whopping 12.5 percent royalty on new production from federal lands. That’s extremely punitive for an industry that already exists on the margins of profitability and pays over 45 percent of its earnings to federal, state and local governments, in the form of taxes, fees, royalties and other assessments.Second, the bill includes language allowing mining claims to be abruptly cancelled after a 20-year period. That’s a disincentive on steroids.”
“Remarkably, the timing of this ‘reform’ is just as bad as the substance. U.S. demand for minerals is climbing steadily: for hundreds of defense, aerospace, electronic, energy, medical, computing, transportation and other applications. Yet, our dependence on China for minerals is at an all-time high and growing, despite increasingly tense diplomatic relations.”
Indeed, as followers of ARPN know, the United States has fallen behind when it comes to securing its mineral resource supply chains – a fact that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak) has called our “Achilles heel.” For a sobering visual underscoring the dire situation from the viewpoint of the EV and energy storage sectors, see Benchmark Mineral Intelligence managing director Simon Moores’s latest tweet calling “China’s domination of REE supply and processing/refining capacity” a “warning shot” to these sectors.
“The economic health and national security of our nation now depend in large part on increasing hardrock mining, to increase our domestic critical minerals supplies — to reduce our troubling and growing reliance on China, Russia and third world dictatorships, many of which are allied with or dependent on China and Russia.
Simply stated, we need to use the Mining Law as it is now written to reduce burgeoning imports and restart a program of strong domestic exploration and mining. Opponents of mining might chafe at the old saying ‘if it can’t be grown it has to be mined.’ But it is absolutely true.”