The following statement was released last week by National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn applauding the House Natural Resources Committee’s mark up of Rep. Mark Amodei’s (R-Nev.) National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015. Quinn noted that Congressman Amodei’s bill, approved by a key House committee on July 9, “will bring the permitting system for US mining into the 21st century.“While few countries can rival our abundance of mineral resources, even fewer have a permitting system as inefficient as the US. Our duplicative and time-consuming permitting process destroys value, discourages investment and jeopardizes the growth of downstream industries, related jobs and technological innovation that all depend on a secure and reliable domestic mineral supply chain.“The staggering toll placed on the viability of mining projects by the existing permitting system was recently confirmed in an independent study we commissioned by SNL Metals & Mining. SNL found that chronic permit delays lasting a decade or more on average reduce the mine’s value by a third. And the increased costs and risks posed by these delays could, in turn, cut the expected value of a mining project by half.“These findings largely explain why our country’s dependence on mineral imports has doubled over the past 20 years. Today, less than half of the mineral needs of US manufacturing are met from domestically mined minerals. These trends will only worsen if we do not advance policies that enable US mining to perform to its potential.“Without compromising our rigorous environmental standards, this legislation carefully addresses the inefficiencies of our underperforming permitting system by incorporating best practices for improving coordination among state and federal agencies, clarifying responsibilities, avoiding duplication, setting timeframes and bringing badly needed accountability to the process.“America’s manufacturing CEOs have expressed growing concerns over the complexity and security of their mineral supply chains and overwhelmingly agree we need to improve the timeliness and efficiency of the permitting system for mines. Competing countries are acting boldly to secure use of these minerals. It is time our government acted accordingly and support responsible development of domestically sourced materials. NMA urges continued bi-partisan support for American minerals and this far-sighted legislation.”Picture courtesy of Hecla Mining.