That’s the title of this Forbes.com piece co-authored by ARPN’s Dan McGroarty and Behre Dolbear CEO Karr McCurdy. ARPN readers know Behre’s “Where Not to Mine” report as the annual review that regularly shows the U.S. leading the mining world in the one category where being first is being last: the time it takes to bring a mine through permitting and into production. In Forbes, McGroarty/McCurdy tie U.S. manufacturing competitiveness to a steady supply of the metals and minerals that provide the energy and raw material inputs for America’s factories.
So how does the U.S. stack up compared to other mining nations?
“In this year’s report, the U.S. appears to have improved its overall ranking, but this is only an “optical illusion.” In 2013, other mining countries became less hospitable to mining at a faster pace than the U.S. The fact that Russia, DRC and China’s permitting delays are metastasizing more rapidly than ours is hardly a point of pride.
“The fact is, it doesn’t have to be this way. The U.S. is remarkably resource-rich, from aluminum to zinc, and many minerals in between. Our substantial mineral endowment provides the U.S. the ability to build a sustainable industry, play a leadership role in the world’s commodity markets, and minimize our growing exposure to the geo-political and economic risks of resource dependency.
“To a large degree the steady accretion of federal policy got us in this mess; policy reform will lead us out.”
But there’s a precursor to sound policy. According to McGroarty and McCurdy,
“…the nation needs a change in mind-set: It’s time to remind ourselves that life as we know it is made possible by the inventive use of metals and minerals. Smart phones, the Cloud, the Internet: These things may seem to work by magic, but quite often the backbone of high-tech is mineral and metal, not fairy dust. Failure to mine what we can here in the U.S. simply perpetuates dangerous dependencies on nations that may not wish us well.
“Responsible development of domestic mineral resources should be a policy priority. Our ability to grow our economy, revive American industry, and safeguard our national security – depends upon it. Maybe by the time next year’s “Where Not to Invest” report comes along, the U.S. will be seen as having reversed course, putting our economy on a path to a resource-driven recovery.”