Recent national and international events have brought attention to the safety and reliability of nuclear energy; mine safety; reliance on foreign imports for key rare earths and other critical minerals; national security; access to public lands for mineral as well as conventional and renewable energy development; and many other issues that directly affect the Nation’s ability to explore, develop, and process minerals and secure a stable domestic supply chain.
“To respond to these and other mining-related events, SME has published a series of Technical Briefing papers to lay claim to the scientific high-ground behind each of these issues,” said David L. Kanagy, SME Executive Director. “These fact-based, non-partisan technical briefing papers use peer-reviewed, sound science to respond to inquiries from elected officials, the media and the general public. It also raises SME’s profile as THE technical mining resource for the metal, coal, industrial mineral and aggregates industry.”
SME’s Government and Public Affairs Committee created 56 panels of members with expertise in an array of mining-related fields to assist in developing the following technical position papers. To download the complete briefings go to www.smenet.org/gpac:
• “Mining and the Use, Quality and Availability of Water” - This paper addresses the often controversial public concerns of mining’s perceived impact on local surface and ground water sources due to withdrawals and acid rock drainage.
• "Meeting the U.S. Metals and Minerals Needs for Energy Production" - The allocation of mineral raw materials to the energy-producing sector of the economy should be a national priority. This requires an assessment of the demand for mineral commodities by the energy sectors and the ability of U.S. minerals producers to satisfy that demand.
• “Meeting the World's Future Mineral Needs” - International pressure is mounting to develop terrestrial mineral resources to meet current world demands and consideration should be given to seabed exploration as a possible future mining frontier.
• “Access to Public Lands for Mineral Exploration” - Public lands are an important, long-term source of critical, strategic and essential minerals and the U.S. depends on open access to these minerals to maintain our economic growth, national security and defense.
• “Rare Earths” - Efforts to re-establish a competitive domestic rare earth supply chain are of critical strategic and economic importance to this nation’s commitment to clean energy technology, to a viable national defense, and for the U.S. to be economically competitive in high-tech products.
• “Nuclear Energy” – Research and development of safe and economical nuclear power should continue as this power source is included in an “all-of-the-above” long-term U.S. energy policy.
• “Improved Regulatory Coordination to Ensure Responsible Mining and Environmental Protection” SME is committed to responsible exploration and extraction of metals, minerals and coal. However, better coordination of state and federal mine reclamation, operations, permitting requirements, programs and agencies are urgently needed.
• “Mine Safety and Health” Employee safety and health is of paramount importance for SME and its members. Laws and regulations governing the mining industry need to be based on sound scientific principles to ensure that workplace solutions can be readily implemented and that solutions to safety and health problems are fully realized.