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A M E R I C A N S T R E N G T H : A M E R I C A S M I N E R A L S

The vitality of the modern American economy is firmly


rooted in the ready availability of metals and minerals that
are essential to our way of life and our national security.
The United States ranks among the worlds largest producers and consumers of minerals and metals. They provide
key components to consumer and industrial technologies,
which we use every day in our homes, offices and cars.
Minerals and metals also play a critically important role
in shaping Americas national security through their use in
the manufacture of military equipment and aircraft that are
vital to the nations defense.
However, America is ceding control of its future by increasing its reliance on foreign sources for minerals that are
domestically abundant. The impact of this growing import
dependency in an era of global resource nationalism is an
important issue for policymakers. The future health of the
American economy will depend, in part, on effective strategies for addressing Americas 21st century mineral needs.

U.S. Minerals Mining Contributes Significantly


to the American Economy

Declining Investment Will Impact U.S.


Minerals Mining
The U.S. has reserves of more commodity minerals and
metals(78)thananyothercountryyetaccountsforonly
asmallfractionoftheworldstotalexplorationspending.
TheU.S.shareofglobalspendingonexplorationisdecliningdroppingfrom20percentin1993toonly7percent
today.
U.S.producersoperateinahigh-costregion,yetcompete
in a global commodity market that determines mineral
prices and rewards low-cost production.

U.S. Minerals Mining is Harmed by Poor Public


Policy
The U.S. ranks near the bottom of 25 of the worlds mineralminingregionsintermsoftheimpactofitsregulatory
andpoliticalsystemsgoverningmineralminingproduction
and the ability to attract investment.

Mineralsminingsupportsatotalof1.2millionjobs,paying more than $70 billion in wages and salaries.

More than 15 federal environmental laws apply to any


majorminingprojectandeitherrequirepermitsorcontain standards that must be accounted for in permits a
major factor behind the high costs and length of time
associated with obtaining them.

In2013,$665billionworthofprocessedmineralmaterialswereusedbysectorsincludingconstruction,manufacturing and agriculture to add more than $2.4 trillion to


the U.S.

A decline in exploration expenditures relative to other


countriesoftenprovidesthefirstindicationthatacountry
islosingitscompetitivenessinattractinginvestmentinto
its mineral sector. (World Bank study, 2006)

Miningactivitygenerated$28billioninfederaltaxesand
another $18 billion in state and local taxes, for a total of
$46 billion.

The U.S. is Increasingly Reliant on Imported


Minerals and Metals

U.S.mineralsminingcontributesmorethan$140billion
in total to national Gross Domestic Product GDP).

U.S. Minerals Mining is Environmentally Responsible


Theindustryisamongthemostheavilyregulatedinthe
world, complying with scores of federal and state laws,
including:theCleanWaterAct,CleanAirAct,Endangered
SpeciesAct,ResourcesConservationandRecoveryAct,the
NationalEnvironmentalPolicyActandtheAntiquitiesAct
amongothers,aswellaswithspecificregulationsgoverning mining administered by multiple federal agencies.
Since1980,themineralsminingindustryhasreclaimed
over 215,000 acres of mined lands.
AstudybytheNationalResearchCounciloftheNational
AcademyofSciencesconcludedtheexistingregulatory
frameworkformineralminingwaseffectivelyprotecting
the environment.

U.S. reliance on mineral imports has increased significantly - the U.S. now relies on imports for more than 50
percent of 40 mineral commodities, up from 22 importdependent minerals in 1996.
With rising demand from China, India and other rapidly
developing countries, the value of minerals and metals
importedintotheU.S.hasincreasedsubstantiallysignifyingthepotentialeconomicopportunitythatisbeinglost
to U.S. metals mining regions.
Roughly750,000tonsofmineralsarerequiredannually
to maintain our national defense.

More Information
For further information about mining law reform,
visit www.nma.org.

Major U.S. Minerals Mines

Iron Ore
Gold

Phosphate
Silver

Copper

Talc

Boron

Molybdenum

Lead
Platinum

Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Selected Critical Minerals U.S. Net Import Reliance, 2012

Percent Reliant
Source: USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries 2013 and National Research Council, Minerals, Critical Minerals, and the U.S. Economy

National Mining Association www.nma.org

12/2013