Hecla Mining: Teaching the Importance of Minerals to our National Security

Phil Baker, Hecla Mining’s president and CEO, and Hal Quinn, NMA’s president and CEO, recently spoke to a class at the National Defense University (NDU) about issues facing the minerals extraction, fabrication and trade industry.

Seminar participants were primarily senior U.S. government officials and military officers who have been charged with formulating a strategy with a set of policies addressing short- and long-term minerals-metals security for U.S. economic well-being and national security.

U.S. intelligence officials recently warned Congress that importing mineral and other raw materials poses a major security threat to the United States. Speaking before the Senate Intelligence Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that several foreign superpowers are seeking to undermine America’s national defense. In addition, it’s estimated that the U.S. Department of Defense uses 750,000 pounds of minerals annually. These important raw materials keep our country safe and save the lives of troops abroad.

Metals such as copper, lead and nickel are used in military gear, weapon systems and other defense technologies. Beryllium is used to reduce weight and improve guidance performance in fighter jets and NASA technologies such as the mirrors on the James Webb Space Telescope. And, because of its exceptional strength, silver is an essential part of the Army’s Apache Helicopter.

Baker and Quinn led an in-depth discussion with future national security policy influencers on the importance of domestic metals and minerals to our country’s defense systems.