In his State of the Union Address, the President said the following:
At the foundation of our economic growth are the raw materials and energy produced from our minerals and fuels, lands and forests, and water resources. With respect to them, I believe that the nation must adhere to three fundamental policies: first, to develop, wisely use and conserve basic resources from generation to generation; second, to follow the historic pattern of developing these resources primarily by private citizens under fair provisions of law, including restraints for proper conservation; and third, to treat resource development as a partnership undertaking — a partnership in which the participation of private citizens and State and local governments is as necessary as Federal participation.
While these words would indicate an increased focus on access to critical metals and minerals, there’s a catch: this statement was made in 1955 by then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, at a time when our country successfully transitioned to a peacetime economy with resource development at the core of this transition.
Today, we find ourselves at yet another critical juncture in time – as the global race for resources is in full swing, many U.S. policy makers have yet to realize the critical importance of mineral resource security. With some positive signs coming from the White House in this regard earlier this year, we were curious to see if the acknowledgement by the White House that “’critical materials’ run the risk of falling into short supply” would somehow find its way into President Obama’s State of the Union address this year.
It did not – in spite of multiple references of clean energy technologies, all of which are heavily reliant on critical minerals, the terms “critical minerals” or even “resources” in the context of mineral resources, was nowhere to be found.
Now, actions speak louder than words, and whether or not our mineral supply issues make the State of the Union address may be irrelevant – as long as the necessary changes in policy – i.e. the development of a coherent and comprehensive mineral strategy – are tackled, but for the sake of our strategic and economic future this has to happen sooner rather than later.