Minerals and metals are essential, irreplaceable components of modern technology. Take just one metal—platinum—as an example. Used in more than 20 percent of all manufactured goods, platinum helps make countless products we use every day possible, including personal computers, flat-screen TVs, hybrid cars and lifesaving medical devices. The list of minerals critical to the manufacture of the technologies we rely on is endless.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, manufacturing grew at a rate of 6.2 percent in 2012, producing $1.86 trillion in output — a new record high for current-dollar manufacturing output in a single year. As manufacturing returns to American shores, our industries will require more minerals and metals than are currently available and supply chain challenges will continue to cause anxiety. U.S. manufacturers are now more than 40 percent reliant on imports of many commodity and rare earth metals. This includes zinc, for which the United States is currently 78 percent import-reliant; silver at 57 percent; and potash at 81 percent. These minerals are essential to America’s manufacturing resurgence and a strong U.S. economy, which is why it’s high time our policy makers revisit our broken minerals mining policies. [REF]
A mineral is a naturally occuring, inorganic solid with a defined chemical composition and a crystalline structure. A rock is an aggregate of one or more minerals. Commercially valuable minerals and rocks are referred to as industrial minerals.