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Let's Make America a Mineral Superpower

February 14, 2018 in Economics

By Stephen Moore, Ned Mamula

Stephen Moore and Ned Mamula

Why is the United States reliant on China and Russia for
strategic minerals when we have more of these valuable resources
than both these nations combined?

This has nothing to do with geological impediments. It is all
politics.

This is an underreported scandal that jeopardizes American
security. As recently as 1990, the U.S. was No. 1 in the world in
mining output. But according to the latest data from the U.S.
Geological Survey, the U.S. is 100 percent import dependent for at
least 20 critical and strategic minerals (not including each of the
“rare earths”), and between 50 and 99 percent reliant for another
group of 30 key minerals. Why aren’t alarm bells ringing?

This import dependency has grown worse over the last decade. We
now are dependent on imports for vital strategic metals that are
necessary components for military weapon systems, cellphones, solar
panels and scores of new-age high-technology products. We don’t
even have a reliable reserve stockpile of these resources.

Fortunately, the Trump administration is working to reverse
decades of policies that have inhibited our ability to mine our own
abundant resources, mostly in the western states — Montana,
Colorado, Wyoming and the Dakotas. In December the Trump
administration issued a long-overdue policy directive designed to
open up federal lands and streamline the permitting process so
America can mine again.

Rare earth minerals are
the seeds for building new technologies, and a strong case could be
made that these strategic metals are the oil of the 21st
century.

No nation on the planet is more richly endowed with a treasure
chest of these metals than the U.S. The U.S. Mining Association
estimates there are more than $6 trillion in resources. We could
easily add $50 billion of GDP every year through a smart mining
policy.

Environmentalists are threatening to file lawsuits and throwing
up other obstacles to this pro-economic development mineral policy
— just as they oppose more open drilling for oil and gas. The
stupidity of this anti-mining stance is that the green energy
sources that they crave — solar and wind power — are
dependent on rare metals to be viable.

Rare earth minerals are the seeds for building new technologies,
and a strong case could be made that these strategic metals are the
oil of the 21st century.

The suite of 15 primary minerals — which the U.S. has in
abundance domestically — has been referred to as “the
vitamins of chemistry.” They exhibit unique attributes, such as
magnetism, stability at extreme temperatures, and resistance to
corrosion: properties that are key to today’s manufacturing. These
rare earth elements are essential for military and civilian …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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