May 8, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Human Events "Mining permit backlog leaves U.S. dependent on China for widely used rare minerals "

Audrey Hudson:
"Strategic minerals that are essential components in green and high technology such as hybrid cars, iPods and solar panels are readily available in the U.S. but efforts to mine the elements are being stalled by bureaucrats for years, industry officials say.

“The United States is heavily reliant on foreign countries such as China for critical minerals that are the building blocks of our economy and imperative to renewable energy development, military technology and the manufacturing of nearly all of our electronic devices,” said Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), chairman of the House Resources Committee.

There are 15 such rare earth minerals worth more than $6 trillion, including terbium, yttrium and dysprosium that are found throughout the U.S.
 To increase access, Republican lawmakers are supporting legislation called the Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act that they say tackles the highest hurdle of getting the needed permits to begin mining operations.

Hall Quinn, president of the National Mining Association, said at a recent House hearing on the bill that it often takes 10 years to get a mining permit. “The length, complexity and uncertainty of the permitting process are the primary reasons investors give for not investing in U.S. minerals mining,” Quinn said.

“Delaying permits for mining projects is not a new problem. What is new is the growing awareness of its implications for our nation, particularly in a highly competitive world economy in which the demand for minerals continues to grow, especially in fast growing economies led by China and India,” Quinn said.

The bill authored by Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) would reverse a 30-year trend of increased reliance on foreign countries and fierce competition to gain access to the needed resources. “In the 2012 ranking of countries for mining investment, the United States ranked last, tied with Papua New Guinea, in permitting delays,” Amodei said....."  (Read more? Click title)

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