U.S. Tied for Last in Time it Takes to Permit a New Mine
Subscribe today for Free Enterprise Updates
- Latest business trends and best practices
- News about legislation and regulation impacting business
- Business how-to articles from industry experts
- Commentary and interviews with newsmakers in business and politics
Success in our economy requires innovation, nimbleness, and speed. In the Wall Street Journal, Daniel McGroarty president of the American Resources Policy Network, argues that the federal permitting process for mining minerals is like wading through molasses:
The U.S. has domestic resources for 18 of those 19 metals and minerals we now exclusively import from abroad. But a maze of government regulations has made mining them here too difficult. That's the consistent finding of the annual Behre Dolbear Country Rankings for Mining Investment, known in the mining world as the "Where-Not-to-Mine Report." The U.S. is currently tied for last place (with Papua New Guinea) in the time it takes to permit a new mine—seven to 10 years on average.
Industries like transportation, alternative energy, medical technology, and advanced manufacturing need reliable supplies of these materials and would benefit from more domestic production.
For McGroarty, the answer is streamlining the permitting process:
[G]et rid of redundancies at the local, state and federal levels, so the process can run concurrently. Among other benefits, this would mean that environmental challenges and litigation—bitter ironies given the fact that the mined metals and minerals are needed for many forms of green energy—do not set the permit process back repeatedly.
“The need for speed is accurate, but it's going to prove difficult for American innovators to be twice as fast when America's mine permitting process is easily twice as slow as in other mining nations,” writes McGroarty.