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Post-Thanksgiving Rut? Back to Basics on Resource Policy Issues

If you’re still struggling to get your bearings after the long Thanksgiving weekend, you’re not alone. A New York Times piece from this Monday provides a good snapshot of what we are going through –  and offers “4 Ways to Stay Motivated When You’re in a Rut:” 
Writes the NYT:

“It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving, and we’re all feeling the same thing today: “It’s been Saturday for about 3 days and thus I am not prepared for Monday.”

The NYT’s first tip is to start small.  A S&P Global Market Intelligence piece from earlier this fall that showed up in our Twitter feed via our friends at the National Mining Association allows us to do just that – it offers a good overview of the mineral resource issues we’re facing today, and reminds us why we need to continue to push for a comprehensive U.S. critical minerals strategy.

The piece traces our growing over-reliance on foreign metals and minerals and contrasts domestic developments that have contributed to our current challenges with actions taken by China, arguably one of our greatest rivals, and at the same time lead supplier for many metals and minerals the U.S. has to import.

Followers of ARPN will find familiar themes here. Citing Joe Balash, assistant secretary for land and minerals management at the Interior Department, the authors state that “the path leading to America’s reliance on other countries for mined materials has been complicated and systemic.” While Balash argues that decades of policies reducing the availability of public lands were a major contributing factor, the National Mining Association points to lengthy permitting times for mining projects and a lack of “common-sense policy” to make “best use” of the United States’ mineral riches.

Outlining the national security challenges that come with our over-reliance on foreign mineral resources, the piece closes with a quote from Greg Gregory, president of Matrion subsidiary Materion Natural Resources, who says what is warranted is a “‘whole-of-government approach’ across department and agency lines to ensure the security of supply of critical minerals and address concerns about mining on public lands and long permitting delays.”

Says Gregory:

“First, mining is a heavily regulated industry, and rightfully so. Our facility is regulated by over half a dozen state and federal agencies. (…) However, some federal agencies with little expertise in mining seek to promulgate new regulations that do nothing to increase safety or improve the environment, but only serve to increase the cost of mining in the United States and make it difficult to compete with foreign competitors, even in countries such as Canada and Australia.”

If you need more background material to “start small” and go back to the basics on mineral resource policy issues, feel free to take another look at our reports here, here, and here.