Mark Compton is executive director of the American Exploration & Mining Association (miningamerica.org), a 127-year-old, 1,300-plus-member national association based in Spokane Valley, Washington.
For years now, the United States has led the way in combating climate change. The administration of President Joe Biden has pushed for the widespread adoption of green technologies as a key part of that effort. If we fail to reach our goals as a nation, however, history may show the administration was its own biggest enemy.
The federal government’s recent decision to reverse its position and cancel Twin Metals Minnesota’s long-held mineral leases, in addition to proposing a 20-year mineral withdrawal in Northeastern Minnesota, demonstrates a stunning lack of understanding regarding the supply chains for green-energy technologies needed to fight climate change.
The region where Twin Metals Minnesota has proposed to mine contains one of the largest untapped copper-nickel deposits in the world. Taking this area and this project off the table for mining is completely contradictory to the administration’s own climate-change goals and its efforts to secure domestic mineral supply chains, as laid out in a Feb. 22 White House announcement.
These actions short-circuited the mine-permitting process under the guise of environmental concerns, without conducting the environmental review prescribed in law.