A haul truck looms over a crew truck with a full load of copper ore waste at the Rio Tinto Kennecott Copper Mine in Herriman on Monday, Feb. 20, 2023.

Ryan Sun, Deseret News

Utah Mining Association President Brian Somers recently testified before the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, extolling the virtues of the state’s diverse mining industry while at the same time issuing a stern warning to lawmakers.

“Demand for minerals is expected to increase radically in the coming years, yet domestically produced minerals currently meet less than half of the needs of U.S. manufacturers, creating an untenable strategic vulnerability for our economic and national security,” he testified.

Somers cited a minerals commodities report by the U.S. Geological Survey that said the United States is more than 50% dependent on foreign imports for 51 important mineral commodities, including 15 in which the country is 100% import reliant.

Handcuffed to China?

In 2022, China was the largest single source of foreign mineral imports and controls 85% of the global mining capacity.

That dependency brought a strong rebuke from Katie Sweeney, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the National Mining Association.

“It’s time for the U.S. to walk the talk on minerals security. Even as our mineral needs skyrocket for everything from electric vehicles to advanced energy technologies and critically important defense systems, the U.S. is stumbling when it comes to our supply chains,” she said, responding to the U.S. Geological Survey report.

Somers pointed to data from the International Energy Agency that said to hit net zero globally by 2050 would require six times more mineral outputs than what is produced now.

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Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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