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Congressman: U.S. House-Passed Mining Legislation Necessary For Defense, Economy

(Kitco News) - The sponsor of legislation aimed at speeding up the permitting process for mineral exploration projects, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week, said the changes are necessary for defense and economic purposes.

The National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act passed by a vote of 254 to 177. Republican Congressman Mark Amodei, who introduced the legislation, said he looks forward to the Senate “helping the House solve this important issue.”

Rep. Mark Amodei

His bill – passed for the fourth time – limits the total review process for issuing permits to 30 months, he said. It requires the Interior and Agriculture departments to more efficiently develop domestic sources of minerals, including rare earths. Other provisions include defining strategic minerals necessary for defense, energy infrastructure, manufacturing and trade. The bill also sets time limits for litigation.

“The 2014 ranking of countries for mining investment found that seven- to 10-year permitting delays are the most significant risk to mining projects in the United States,” Amodei said. “Duplicative regulations, bureaucratic inefficiency and lack of coordination between federal agencies unnecessarily threaten our economy and jeopardize our national security.”

Americans rely on many metals, he said, adding that his state of Nevada is rich in critical minerals.

“From military technology, such as aircraft and missiles used by service men and women to defend our country, to the cars, smart phones and televisions we use every day, to medication and medical supplies; they all contain strategic and critical minerals such as rare earth elements, as well as gold and silver, to name a few,” he said.

Passage of the legislation was welcomed by Hal Quinn, president and chief executive officer of the National Mining Association. Under current rules, the nation’s dependence on mineral imports has doubled over the last two decades, he said.

“Today, less than half of the mineral needs of U.S. manufacturing are met from domestically mined minerals,” he said. “These trends will only worsen if we do not advance policies that enable U.S. mining to perform to its full potential.”

By Allen Sykora of Kitco News;



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