In this first full trading week of 2012, there is a lot of talk about what the year will bring for investors, manufacturers and consumers, with much of it revolving around the U.S. Presidential primaries and the Eurozone financial crisis. While the importance of these issues cannot be dismissed, the British daily The Independent reminds us that this narrow focus may be somewhat misguided:
The biggest threat to businesses isn’t the eurozone crisis or the onset of a new credit crunch – it’s the short supply of the precious metals needed to make everything from smartphones to plasma TVs to wind turbines.
According to the paper, a survey of senior executives at United Kingdom manufacturers found that for two thirds of them, “securing a reliable supply of raw materials is their number one concern.”
In the U.S., which, though home to vast mineral resources, has an unnecessarily high import dependency rate for a variety of critical minerals, that perception among manufacturers will hardly differ. In past years, while efforts were underway, our decision makers missed the opportunity to create a framework that is conducive to alleviating domestic industries’ mineral supply worries, which threaten our strategic and economic future. One would hope that correcting this mistake would top the list of New Year’s resolutions for 2012.