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Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Holds Hearing on US Dependence on Foreign Minerals

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Yesterday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing “To Examine the United States’ Increasing Dependence on Foreign Sources of Minerals and Opportunities to Rebuild and Improve the Supply Chain in the United States”. The Hearing featured testimony from a variety of experts who were able to provide insight into both the importance of cultivating a domestic supply chain for minerals and the current impediments to investment in mining in the United States. The list of witnesses was as follows:

·       Dr. Murray Hitzman, Associate Director, Energy and Minerals, The U.S. Geological Survey (testimony)

·       Mr. Alf Barrios, Chief Executive, Rio Tinto Aluminum (testimony)

·       Dr. Chris Hinde, Director of Reports, Metals and Mining, S&P Global Market Intelligence (testimony)

·       Mr. Randy MacGillivray, Vice President, Project Development, Ucore Rare Metals, Inc. (testimony)

·       Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff, USN (Retired), President and Chief Executive Officer, National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) (testimony)

·       Dr. Roderick G. Eggert, Viola Vestal Coulter Foundation Chair in Mineral Economics Division of Economics and Business, Colorado School of Mines (testimony)

 

Chairwoman Murkowski (R-AK) continues to be a champion for mineral development and investment in the United States. Her opening statement as well as her questions demonstrated her knowledge of the role minerals play in the global and domestic economy and the reliance every sector has on accessible and affordable minerals. In addition to the predictably supportive Republican Senators, the Democrat Senators in attendance all also appeared to understand the importance of the mining industry and the responsible development of domestic resources. During the Q&A portion of the hearing the Senators asked questions on a variety of issues that impact IMA-NA members. Please see the synopses below on questions of particular interest.

 

·       Permitting: Multiple Senators asked for insight on how the permitting process impacts US development of mineral resources. The consistent message from the panel was that the permitting process in the United States needs takes substantially longer than Canada and Australia, two countries with comparable standards, and that the process can be improved by eliminating duplicative components, syncing up different agencies’ requirements to work on things simultaneously, setting actualized deadlines, and providing certainty in the long term requirements.

·       CERCLA: Senator Lee (R-UT) asked whether CERCLA 108(b) would have a negative impact on the mining industry. Mr. Barrios answered that the rule would disincentivize investment in new mining projects in the United States. Additionally, Barrios noted that the bonding requirements are duplicative as companies already carry bonding under other programs to cover the clean up of contaminated sites.

·       Education: The Committee had questions related to both the education of the general public, Congress, and the Administration about the industry and the state of the mining engineering pipeline at mining schools. These questions reflect conversations IMA-NA members and staff continue on the best way to increase awareness of our industry in a positive light. In addition, the focus on encouraging the next generation of mining professionals also mirrors current IMA-NA outreach and program development.

·       Minerals Science: Senator Murkowski took some time to comment on her belief in funding the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to provide the US with the most complete information possible on the resources available. She specifically focused on the need to create a complete map of the minerals of United States, as only 1/3 of the country is currently mapped.

·       Transportation: Senator Stabenow (D-MI) asked a question about the role access to reasonable transportation for mined products has in promoting domestic production of minerals. The panel all related that transportation costs made up a large part of operating budgets and certainly could negatively impact domestic production.

·       Soda Ash: Senator Barrasso (R-WY) asked a question about how minerals, such as Soda Ash, can remain competitive in a global market when US producers face both higher transportation costs and regulatory burdens, and are not subsidized in the way China subsidizes mining. Dr. Hitzman highlighted the importance of reliable transportation infrastructure, favorable tax codes, and consistent interpretation of laws and regulations.

 

The hearing gave a good indication of how the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee views the role of the mining industry in our economy and our national defense. Chairwoman Murkowski acknowledged plans to reintroduce her legislation S. 883, American Mineral Security Act of 2015, from last session as a way to further raise the importance of minerals to our national and economic well-being. Overall, the hearing provided the industry the opportunity to highlight the challenges of operating in the United States as well as the positive contributions the industry makes to society. 

To read Chairwoman Murkowski's opening statement click here.

To watch the recording of the hearing click here. 

Tags:  Barrasso  CERCLA  Congress  Energy and Natural Resources  ENR  hearing  industrial minerals industry  legislation  Legislators  minerals science  Murkowski  Senate  soda ash  usgs 

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Senate Passes Energy Policy Modernization Act

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, April 20, 2016

This morning the Senate passed Senator Murkowski's Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (S. 2012) by a vote of 85-12.  The bill grew out of a bipartisan effort in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and addresses a wide array of energy issues including: energy efficiency standards, electric grid infrastructure, across the board energy development, and resource management funding. IMA-NA supported the bill, specifically Subtitle D. which was comprised entirely of Senator Murkowski's American Mineral Security Act of 2015 (S. 883).  Passage of S. 2012 is impressive for the scope of the issues addressed by the legislation but for the mining industry it is a step towards greater recognition of the important role minerals play in our economy and energy development.  Subtitle D. pushes for greater funding for USGS and their minerals sciences, specifically with the goal of mapping and forecasting our resources in the United States. The Senate vote this morning on a comprehensive energy bill is the first success since 2007 and the inclusion of minerals and minerals sciences is an important step forward. 

To read the bill click here. 

Tags:  energy  industrial minerals industry  legislation  minerals science  msic  Senate  USGS 

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Upcoming Webinars: OSHA Weight of Evidence Guidance and Mining & EHS - A Case Study

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Over the next week IMA-NA would like to encourage you to participate in three webinars offering insight into various aspects of the mining industry. In addition to the two webinars IMA-NA is hosting: Friday's OSHA Weight of Evidence Guidance and next Wednesday's Mining & EHS - A Case Study, the Association is co-sponsoring the Minerals Sciences & Information Coalition's webinar: Underpinning Innovation: The Science and Supply of America's Critical Minerals and Materials. These three webinars handle both practical topics for running your operations as well as educational topics, such as, the importance of federal investment in the U.S. Geological Survey.  Below you will find brief descriptions of each webinar as well as links to register.

 

Webinar Title: OSHA Weight of Evidence Guidance

Date/Time: Friday March 25, 2:00 EST

Click here to register 

OSHA’s new guidance on how to apply the Weight of Evidence approach for assessing complex scientific studies under its GHS HazCom rule is open for comment until May 2, 2016, and will impact IMA-NA members who must prepare Safety Data Sheets and warning labels for their products. The "weight of evidence" approach is intended to assist both manufacturers and employers in evaluating scientific studies on the potential health hazards of a chemical and determine what information must be disclosed. Attorneys Adele Abrams CMSP and Brian Yellin CIH of the Law Office of Adele L Abrams PC will present the legal and technical information you need to weigh in on this important subject.  

 

Webinar Title: Underpinning Innovation: The Science and Supply of America's Critical Minerals and Materials

Date/Time: Wednesday March 30, 1:00 EST

Click here to register

Minerals are a part of almost every product we use on a daily basis, either as the raw materials for manufacturing processes or as the end products themselves. Advanced technologies for communications, clean energy, medical devices, and national security rely on raw materials from mines throughout the world. In 2010, China curtailed exports of rare earth metals and sparked major concern about the security of global supply chains for a range of vital minerals and materials. This webinar is based on a Congressional briefing organized by AGI on behalf of the Mineral Science & Information Coalition (3 March 2016). The webinar will address the efforts being taken at the federal level to ensure a steady supply of critical minerals and materials.

 

Webinar Title: Mining & EHS - A Case Study

Date/Time: Wednesday March 30, 2:00 EST

Click here to register

Join us for a webinar where we will feature EHS compliance best practices of a leading silica mining and manufacturing company. Gensuite will share practical insights into how your peers in the mining and related industries are addressing MSHA and OSHA requirements, driving accountability throughout the enterprise, and improving compliance performance through the use of web-based systems with a suite of fully-integrated and mobile-enabled compliance and risk management tools. Learn how companies such as U.S. Silica, PotashCorp, Ingersoll Rand, and General Electric are engaging employees at all levels of the organization in driving EHS performance improvements and operational efficiencies.

 

Tags:  Associate Member  case study  compliance  EHS  industrial minerals industry  minerals science  msic  OSHA  regulations  usgs  webinars 

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IMA-NA Featured in Boss Magazine

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, March 8, 2016

IMA-NA is featured in this month's BOSS Magazine, an e-mag focused on delivering high-quality business and trade content to some of the most powerful and forward-thinking business leaders in North America. Each month BOSS explores topics across different sectors as well as offering insights into leadership and work environments.  IMA-NA is excited to highlight our industry and our association to BOSS's readership.  Furthermore, BOSS expressed an interest in potentially highlighting IMA-NA members as leaders, applying innovative and forward thinking solutions to industry wide issues.

To read the piece on IMA-NA click here.

If you are interested in offering content to BOSS in the future email Ariel

Tags:  education  ima-na  industrial minerals industry  industry  outreach  press 

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WEBINAR: Telematics - Past, Present, & Future Tomorrow

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tomorrow at 2:00pm EST IMA-NA will be hosting our first Operations & Engineering focused webinar of 2016. Throughout the year IMA-NA will be expanding our webinar series to include not only Safety & Health topics but also topics on transportation, energy, legal, environmental, sustainability, fitness, and technology. We are excited to welcome our Associate Member, Volvo, as our expert on telematics.  Senior Telematics Specialist, Hilton Wood will be presenting members with an outline of where telematics has been and where it is headed in the future. The webinar will demonstrate the ways in which you can maximize your usage of your fleet by leveraging current technologies to communicate information on the vehicles in your fleet.  Please join us for our first Operations & Engineering focused webinar.  

Title: Heavy Construction Equipment Telematics: Past, Present, and Future

Date and Time: February 11th, 2pm EST

To register click here

Tags:  Associate Member  Assoi  industrial minerals industry  operations and engineering  technology  telematics  Volvo  webinar 

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NIOSH Announces New Leadership for Spokane Mining Research Division

Posted By Mark Ellis, Friday, February 5, 2016

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has appointed Dr. Eric A. Lutz as Director of its new Spokane Mining Research Division, part of the NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health Research (OMSHR).

“Dr. Lutz’s expertise in miner health and safety will be critical as this new NIOSH research division expands to address the special needs of the extractive industries in the western United States,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “I am pleased to welcome Dr. Lutz to NIOSH and am confident his leadership will help the Division move forward in its mission to ensure the health and safety of the dedicated workers within the mining industry."

In his new role, Dr. Lutz will provide oversight, guidance, and direction to research personnel and support NIOSH’s cutting-edge health and safety research focused on the mining community. He will help guide the translation of research results into practice to ultimately protect the health and improve the lives of miners and mining communities.

Prior to joining NIOSH, Dr. Lutz served as Assistant Professor in the Division of Community, Environment, and Policy at the Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona (UA) in Tucson while concurrently serving as the UA Director of Mining Health and Safety Programs. He also brings a wealth of health and safety expertise garnered in the private sector working for organizations such as Battelle Memorial Institute and BioGard Environmental Services.

A Certified Mine Safety Professional, Dr. Lutz also serves as the director and co-founder of the Health and Safety Technical Advisory Committee of the Institute for Mineral Resources and is chair of the Health and Safety Division in the Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration. He is also the co-founder and vice chair of the Mining Working Group of the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Dr. Lutz received a Master of Science degree from The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Public Health. He also holds a doctorate in Environmental Health Sciences, also from OSU College of Public Health. 

The Spokane Mining Research Division was created in April 2015, and is located at the NIOSH facility in Spokane, Washington. 

NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Click here for more information about NIOSH.

Tags:  administration  industrial minerals industry  NIOSH  research  safety and health 

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National Miners Day 2015

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Monday, November 30, 2015
Updated: Wednesday, January 20, 2016

December 6th marks the 8th Annual National Miners Day, a day designated by Congress in 2009 to celebrate and honor the contributions and sacrifices of miners both past and present. The day is a time to honor the role miners played and continue to play in building the United States.  As we are aware, mining is a vibrant and necessary industry both in the U.S. and across the globe that allows us all to enjoy a higher quality of life.  National Miners Day, like North American Minerals Days, is an opportunity to recognize the mining industry and promote greater awareness of the important work miners carry out each and every day.  According to MSHA, about 375,000 miners extract coal and nearly 100 different kinds of minerals from the earth, including industrial minerals. IMA-NA is proud to represent the producers of these materials that fuel our industries, comprise our infrastructure, and make up our consumer products.

IMA-NA would like to encourage our members to do something to commemorate and celebrate all the employees that make your companies great. MSHA has developed resources to assist in the staging of any activities for Miners Day, which you can find here. There you can find Miners Day videos, photos, and posters as well as a social media toolkit. If there are individuals or operations you would like to highlight on IMA-NA's website or Facebook page, please contact Ariel Hill-Davis.  IMA-NA will be taking this entire week as an opportunity to put the spotlight on some of the exceptional people who make up your organizations and our membership. Additionally, MSHA staffer, Lynn Dondis is supporting events and sharing updates. She can be reached here, if you would like to share information, thoughts, or stories from your operations with her directly.


Tags:  education  industrial minerals industry  miner appreciation  mining  national miners day  North American Minerals Days  outreach 

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Congress to Vote on National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The House is slated to vote on the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act (H.R. 1937) this week. H.R. 1937 was introduced by Representative Amodei (R-NV) as the House companion bill for Senator Murkowski's American Mineral Security Act (S. 883).  Both bills encourage greater production of strategic and critical minerals in the United States as well as providing for greater investment in minerals sciences.  IMA-NA has supported both bills since introduction, specifically for the provisions geared towards increasing minerals information programs at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) as well as creating a more efficient and streamlined permitting process of mining projects. Both pieces of legislation acknowledge our reliance on minerals and the necessity to invest in long term responsible and efficient development of our natural resources.  Previously, IMA-NA submitted testimony to the Senate supporting the objectives of the American Mineral Security Act as well as signing onto the Minerals Sciences Information Coalition's (MSIC) comments.  The bill is an important step to encouraging the continued investment in our industry.  If you would like to reach out to your member an encourage their support you can click here.

To read the bill click here.

Tags:  Congress  critical minerals  industrial minerals industry  legislation  minerals science  permitting process  strategic minerals 

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North American Minerals Days - Industry Impact

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, October 15, 2015

As IMA-NA and all our members know the Industrial Minerals Industry is unassuming despite having far reaching impacts across the economy.  The drive of North American Minerals Days is to promote the understanding that the modern world is made of Industrial Minerals, including highlighting the quantifiable impacts of the industry.  Recent studies concluded that in the United States alone the Industrial Minerals Industry directly contributes $33.5 billion the the GDP. When we consider the variety of products and processes our minerals go into the ripple effects of the industry are substantially more. In addition to acting as the building blocks for the products that make our modern lifestyles possible, the Industrial Minerals Industry also supports industries like those found in our Associate Member Section. Our Associate Members provide equipment, services, and expertise that strengthens and further stretches the impact of the industry.  North American Minerals Days celebrate the industry's involvement with their communities, as leaders, job creators, and active investors in the future. This recognition can include our Associate Members that help the industry continue producing the minerals we need in the best way possible.  

The attached article written by our Associate Member, Kevin Peterson, is a key example of the symbiotic relationship that develops between Producers and the supporting industries.  Read the article to learn how Vortex helped a customer figure out a solution to making their process run smoother and more efficiently. It is a demonstration of the wider community and how many people rely on the industry in one way or another to lead their lives. 

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  Associate Member  community  industrial minerals  industrial minerals industry  industry  North American Minerals Days  Vortex Valves 

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Minerals Days - 1st Annual North American Minerals Days

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, October 13, 2015

This week marks the first official North American Minerals Days, an expansion of IMA-Europe's successful European Minerals Day program.  Started in 2007, with the goal of increasing awareness of the industrial minerals industry and the role it plays in communities across Europe, European Minerals Day as of 2015 has grown into a global program.  IMA-NA partnered with IMA-Europe to promote events to educate and engage with the public about our members and the important work you do.  Traditionally, European Minerals Day is held over one week-end, when quarries and plants from the minerals sector all over Europe open their doors to schools, students, families, neighbours and all those interested to discover more about an industry that affects every aspect of our lives. Starting with Omya's Open Quarry Day in September, North American Minerals Days will cover a range of activities held in the fall.  Keep an eye out this week for news related to North American Minerals Days and how we can continue to help individuals outside of our industry understand what we do and who we are. 

Visit our site for more information on the 1st Annual North American Minerals Days and visit the European Minerals Days to learn about our partners from IMA-Europe. 

Tags:  community  education  industrial minerals industry  North American Minerals Days 

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