National Strategic and Critical Minerals Act Wins US House Committee Approval

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"The U.S. Department of Energy identified the 7–10 year period to obtain mining permits in the U.S. as compared to the average 1–2 years in Australia as one of the principal barriers to new U.S. mining ventures."

A bill aimed at streamlining permitting in one of the worst mining permitting jurisdictions globally, the United States, has won approval of the House Natural Resources Committee.

On a 2710 vote, the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Wednesday passed the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Act (H.R. 4402), aimed at streamlining the permitting process for U.S. mining.

The bill now goes to a floor vote by the full House.

"By streamlining government bureaucracies, we can boost American production of critical minerals such as rare earths that China has nearly 100% control over," said Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Washington. "These critical minerals are vital for manufacturing everything from cell phones to hybrid vehicles."

"Duplicative regulations, bureaucratic inefficiency, and lack of coordination between federal agencies are threatening the economic recovery of my home state and jeopardizing our nation security," said the measure's primary sponsor Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nevada. "I am thankful for the support of my colleagues in recognizing that the length of permitting process has a dramatic impact on mining and resources activity in Nevada."

Amodei is a former president of the Nevada Mining Association.

In a House subcommittee hearing last month, National Mining Association CEO Hal Quinn said H.R. 4402 "tackles one of the highest hurdles for domestic mining: permit delays." The international consulting firm, Behre Dolbear, has identified the United States as having one of the longest permitting processes in the world for mining projects.

The U.S. Department of Energy identified the 710 year period to obtain mining permits in the U.S. as compared to the average 12 years in Australia as one of the principle barriers to new U.S. mining ventures.

H.R. 4402 would streamline the permitting process for mineral development by coordinating the actions of federal, state, local and tribal agencies.

During Wednesday's House Resources Committee markup session, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, unsuccessfully tried to amend the bill to require a royalty payment for 12.5% of the value of the minerals produced as a result of a federal permit for mineral exploration or mine on federal lands.

Dorothy Kosich
Mineweb

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