The U.S. must reform its mine permit process and safety regulations to get to the vast underground resources of rare-earth materials that could drive growth, add jobs and bring revenues to state budgets, according to a new study from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).
‘Rare earths and rare-earth mining are crucial to modern life, providing critical components of everything from iPhones to computers, medical CAT scans, defense equipment, wind turbines and other forms of green energy,’ says NCPA Adjunct Fellow Tom Tanton. "Yet, the United States depends on other countries, some of which are not very friendly, for these elements, importing more than 96 percent of its rare earths. This dependence on foreign sources such as China for our supplies of these critical elements must end, and it can."
According to the NCPA, the study found that states with rare-earth resources could increase gross state product by almost $40 billion, add nearly 3,600 shovel-ready jobs and improve state revenues by $724 million by simplifying the approval process for rare- earth mining projects.
"Australia and Canada set good examples of how it should be done. Their permit approval time is dramatically shorter than the average seven years it takes in this country," says Tanton. "The U.S. needs to combine redundant and multiple agencies into a single "one-stop-shopping' authority."
"It is economically foolish to rely on other countries for such critical minerals, when we have a bounty of them in the U.S. available for use," Tanton adds.
More information on the report is available here.