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  • June 20, 2024
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DEEP DIVE: Can the Mining Industry Resolve its Ethical, Environmental Supply Chain Challenges?

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DEEP DIVE: Can the Mining Industry Resolve its Ethical, Environmental Supply Chain Challenges?

As the global competition for rare earth minerals increases, lawmakers and experts have charted various courses for the future stewardship of the safety and health of workers involved in mining and the treatment of the environment where those mines are located.

Minerals like lithium, cobalt, neodymium and used in the technology that powers the everyday operations of businesses and lives of consumers, from batteries to semiconductors to magnets.

A panel of mining industry experts appeared before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials 13 June 2024 to grapple with questions about the industry’s carbon footprint, as well as ethical issues surrounding workers in some foreign mines and technological innovation that aims to provide solutions on both fronts.

According to the National Mining Association, it takes an average of seven to 10 years to permit a mine in the United States. The global lead time to open a mine is even longer, having grown to 17.9 years from 2020-23, versus 12.7 years for a similar mine 15 years ago.

“Sourcing the vast majority of critical materials from other countries, including countries that lack environmental and worker health and safety laws, is not sustainable if the U.S. wants to continue to lead the innovation economy,” said Martin Stratte, partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, in his witness testimony.


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