The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 4402. “The ‘National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act’ approved by a bi-partisan vote in the House would establish a 21st century permitting system for U.S. mining and prepare us for the 21st century challenges of minerals supply chain reliability and security,” said U.S. National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn. “While few countries can rival the U.S. when it comes to an abundance of mineral resources, we remain cursed with a third-world permitting system that discourages investment and the downstream industries, related jobs, innovation and technology that depend on a secure and reliable mineral supply chain.

“Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) and his colleagues have carefully and credibly addressed the pitfalls of our current outdated and underperforming permitting system by providing efficient, timely and thorough permit reviews and by incorporating best practices for coordination among state and federal agencies, clarifying responsibilities, avoiding duplication, setting timeframes and bringing more accountability to the process,” Quinn said. “These are all steps other resource-rich countries such as Australia and Canada have already taken and are consistent with President Obama’s executive order to streamline the permitting process for infrastructure projects—all of which rely upon a ready supply of the very materials H.R. 4402 addresses.

“Our dependence on mineral imports has doubled over the past 20 years,” Quinn said. “Today, less than half of the mineral needs of U.S. manufacturing are met from domestically mined minerals. These trends will only get worse if we do not advance policies that enable U.S. mining to perform to its potential.

“Other countries have clearly demonstrated the willingness and urgency to act to meet the challenges of a new global reality in which demand for mineral resources will soar while supplies become increasingly difficult to obtain,” Quinn said. “We must do so as well, otherwise we place our long term economic growth and security at risk. NMA urges continued support for this important and far-sighted legislation.”