This week, the U.S. House of Representative’s Natural Resources Committee passed Rep. Mark Amodei’s (R-Nev.) National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act. Under the bill, projects that provide minerals “vital to job creation, energy infrastructure, American economic competitiveness, and national security” must be considered infrastructure projects. Federal agencies are directed to reduce the time to make decisions regarding permitting of and reviewing these projects. Under the proposed act, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the Forest Service will appoint a project lead for the mine permitting process to coordinate with other agencies to ensure that the agencies minimize delays, set and adhere to timelines for completion of the permitting process, set clear permitting goals, and track progress against goals.

“This is an important first step in bringing the U.S. mine permitting system into the 21st century,” said National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn. “In making key permitting systems more efficient, we also boost the country’s economy, manufacturing renaissance and pave the way for much needed repairs to our crumbling infrastructure.

Quinn said the current lengthy and duplicative federal permitting process discourages investment and jeopardizes growth.

“High-wage jobs and technological innovation depend on a secure and reliable domestic mineral supply chain, and this bill gets us closer to delivering that security,” he said.

“Today, less than half of the mineral needs of U.S. manufacturing are met from domestically mined minerals,” Quinn said. “These trends will only worsen if we do not advance policies that enable U.S. mining to perform to its full potential.”