Advances in materials science are altering and expanding the ways in which we use metals and minerals at neck-breaking speeds, and are drastically changing the supply and demand picture. The United States was significantly less dependent on foreign supplies of metals and minerals in the 1970s — but today, we find ourselves import-reliant for scores of materials that are indispensable components of the tools and gadgets that support our livelihoods – at home and at work.
Meanwhile, technological advances have gone hand in hand with the materials science revolution, and have provided us with new and improved extraction methods, so that the wealth of mineral resources beneath U.S. soil could help alleviate our over-reliance on foreign mineral imports — if it wasn’t for an outdated and duplicative permitting structure for mining projects that has so far hampered domestic resource development.
Thankfully, there is an increasing awareness of a need to reform laws and regulations to encourage more domestic mining, as evidenced by the latest poll commissioned by the National Mining Association (NMA), and conducted by Morning Consult:
“The poll found that 57 percent support regulatory and legal reform to support domestic mining, 26 percent did not know or had no opinion, and just 18 percent opposed reform. The poll was conducted from April 5-7, 2018, of 2,201 adults nationwide carrying a margin of error of +/- 2 percent.”
NMA President and CEO Hal Quinn explains:
“Made in America should also be made from American resources. At a time when the U.S. is looking to bolster our domestic manufacturing industry, leaving the stability of our supply chain subject to the whims of foreign sources is dangerously shortsighted. That’s why most Americans support regulatory and legal reform to encourage domestic mining.”
The poll comes at a critical juncture in time, as stakeholders have – finally – begun to take steps to formulate a comprehensive mineral resource strategy. First steps to untangle the web of duplicative and redundant regulations have also been taken, however, with our competitiveness and national security at stake, much more remains to be done.