America’s Mineral Resources: Creating Mining and Manufacturing Jobs and Securing America

March 21, 2013

by H. Sterling Burnett

Thank you Chairman Lamborn and Ranking Member Holt for the opportunity to submit testimony for the record on the state of mineral resources in the U.S.  My name is Sterling Burnett and I am a Senior Fellow for the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).  NCPA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. Our goal is to develop and promote private, free-market alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector. 

The United States can create jobs, reduce reliance on foreign imports and improve national security by encouraging the domestic exploration and production of rare earth elements currently imported from other countries. While supplies of rare earths may not improve for several years, steps should be taken now to develop domestic mining and current policies should be changed to allow this growth. Key components of most modern electronics, green energy technologies and defense systems are made from a small number of elements and critical metals called rare earths. Indeed, rare earth elements are the basis for much of modern technology due to a range of relatively unique electronic, magnetic, optical and catalytic properties. From lighting to lasers, magnets to x-ray units, glass tints to electronics, these “rare” minerals are ubiquitous in modern technology.

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