JANUARY 27, 2014
This month, the importance of minerals-based technologies to our economy and way of life has never been more apparent.
The Detroit Auto Show highlighted the newest advancements in the automotive world; cars that are lighter, faster and “smarter.” New features and models, such as smart LCD displays and the 2015 Ford F-150, require a steady supply of minerals such as cobalt, zinc, beryllium and bauxite to bring them to market.
Similarly, minerals such as gold, copper and iron ore are only a few of the raw materials needed for the latest cutting edge technologies, such as the virtual reality headsets or latest smartphone technologies showcased at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.
President Obama highlighted the importance of technology and innovation to the U.S. economy last Wednesday when announcing the new Next Generation Power Electronics National Manufacturing Innovation Institute. The Institute seeks to fuel more groundbreaking technologies like those showcased at the Detroit Auto Show and CES. Our leadership must acknowledge, however, that the innovation — and jobs — created by the Institute will rely entirely on reliable supplies of minerals.
Although the United States is home to $6.2 trillion worth of mineral reserves, a duplicative permitting process restricts much of those minerals from being used by U.S. manufacturers, as they currently rely on imports for more than half of their mineral needs.
I continue to urge the U.S. Senate to consider passing permit reform legislation similar to the bi-partisan “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act,” which passed the House in September and would ensure efficient, timely and thorough permit reviews without reducing any of the nation’s strict environmental protections.
As we continue to strive for further technological advancements in 2014, let’s not forget that streamlined access to U.S. minerals will help the U.S. remain at the helm of global innovation.
I invite you to learn more about the importance of minerals to high-tech manufacturing by visiting the Minerals Make Life blog.