minerals, usgs, science,funding, forecasting
|Minerals Science Information Position|
The Industrial Minerals Association North America (IMA-NA) strongly supports the restoration of previous funding levels as well as the allocation of new funds devoted to the Minerals Information programs housed at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Non-fuel minerals are the building blocks of our economy, acting as essential components in both processes and products we all use daily. Despite our dependence on minerals, the federal government has been steadily decreasing funding for minerals science, research, information, data collection and analysis programs. Over the past decade funding for the Minerals Resources Program (MRP), the only primary source for minerals science and information, has been cut by 30%, in constant dollar terms. The necessary scale back in staff and research due to funding cuts, results in an inability to provide as detailed or complex information on the state of our national mineral resources.
Investment in up to date minerals science and information is important to our economy, as well as our national security. In order to ensure we have access to the minerals needed to sustain our lifestyles, we must first know, with accuracy, where stores of particular minerals are and how big those stores are. The restoration of previous funding levels to the MRP would allow for continued access to the high quality information on minerals resources needed to make important business and public policy decisions.
In addition to restoring funding, IMA-NA supports the increase of funding for the National Minerals Information Center, specifically to develop forecasting capabilities. Currently, the United States has no capacity to forecast future trends in the supply and demand of minerals and thus is unable to anticipate and mitigate disruptions in supply chains. Developing a forecasting program would allow us to be proactive rather than reactive in the face of shortages. The recent concern over China’s monopoly on rare earth minerals is but one example of why mineral resource forecasting is important to both our economy and national security.