Sweeping Land Withdrawal Threatens Minerals Security

National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn today issued the following statement on the Department of the Interior’s commencement of the process to withdraw nine million acres of federal lands from new mining claims:

“The withdrawal of nearly nine million acres of federal lands located in 10 western states is unprecedented in scale, unwise from a minerals security standpoint and unnecessary to protect the greater sage grouse habitat. Mining operations are not a major threat to the sage grouse and projects can be designed to protect their habitat. Access to federal lands for mineral exploration and development is critical to maintain a strong domestic mining industry as these lands historically have, and will continue to, provide a large share of the metals and minerals that feed our ever-evolving manufacturing, technology, energy and defense sectors.

“New mining operations are already either restricted or banned on more than half of all federally owned public lands. Caution must be exercised when determining whether additional lands should be put off limits and withdrawals must be carefully scrutinized to determine whether they will increase the nation’s dependency on foreign minerals. Our nation’s import dependence for key mineral commodities has doubled over the past two decades. Congress is increasingly recognizing the importance of policies that promote minerals security, it is time for the Department of the Interior to do the same.”