“With our eyes wide open, we are putting ourselves in the same vulnerable position [as we did with oil and gas decades ago] when it comes to these [critical] minerals,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told the audience at “Minerals: The Overlooked Foundation of Our Future,” an event organized by RealClearPolitics in partnership with our friends at the National Mining Association earlier today.
Sen. Murkowski, who keynoted the event, added that while we have the resources, “we put hurdles in our own way extracting them and have clearly stepped aside [...] any leadership role in being able to process these minerals.”
During the panels preceding Sen. Murkowski’s keynote, issue experts – including ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty — explored policy questions surrounding the importance of minerals, and ways to tackle the challenge of securing ever-complex critical mineral supply chains. Panelists, including two White House officials, emphasized the need to invest in the U.S. critical mineral knowledge base and workforce, the need for flexibility to account for breakthroughs in materials science which may change underlying dynamics, and for market awareness.
Underscoring the urgency of the situation, Daniel McGroarty said “we can’t admire the problem anymore. We don’t have the luxury of time,” arguing that once supply chains are formed, “it’s very difficult to break them, and this will have national security consequences for us.” McGroarty suggested that the application of an “all-of-the-above” approach we’ve come to know from the energy policy discourse – in the context of working toward “resource independence,” a focus on new mining, recycling and reclamation of new minerals from old mine tailings — could be useful in formulating policy solutions for our critical mineral woes, and to reclaim our leadership role, from which “we have clearly – clearly stepped away” according to Sen. Murkowski.
Video of entire full event is available here. Be sure to click on video “2 of 2″ to watch the stream.