House passes critical mineral act to ease mining permit process

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 1937, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2015, with a bipartisan vote of 254-177.

The bill will make it easier for mining and mineral processing companies to get access to mineral rights by easing the permitting process. As it stood before, the permitting process for mineral extraction could take up to a decade before mining companies could tap new resources.

The National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act was introduced by Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), whose aim was to set a new national policy that creates a more robust mineral supply chain within the U.S., especially minerals of critical importance to the American economy and national security. The new bill will likely boost the nation’s manufacturing competitiveness in the critical minerals sector.

Amodei said that despite concerns over the bill from some environmental groups, the bill doesn’t change the nation’s ecological laws.

“Our nation is rich in strategic and critical minerals. Permitting delays stand in the way of high-paying jobs and revenue for local, often rural, communities,” Amodei said. “This legislation does nothing to circumvent environmental regulations or public input. It would simply streamline the permitting process to leverage our nation's vast mineral resources.

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, said the bill will help the U.S. better compete on the international market.

“China is winning and we are losing,” Bishop said. “Rather than harness our abundant mineral resources for the betterment of our national security, economic stability, and basic necessities, we have a senseless permitting process that promotes mineral dependence.”

This is the fourth time the bill has been passed in the House, and must clear the hurdle of Senate approval which has blocked its enactment over the last three Congresses.

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House Committee on Natural Resources

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