By Rich Nolan
The challenge facing the nation is arguably without precedent. The health crisis posed by COVID-19 must be our first priority, but we must also in tandem tend to the economic upheaval wrought by the virus and the steps that must be taken to combat it.
Every industry will feel the impacts of this evolving and immensely challenging situation. The mining industry is no different. As our lawmakers move quickly to map out their response – both in the actions taken to slow and stop the spread of the virus and also those to support the financial wellbeing of average Americans as well as entire industries – it’s essential that mining is given prominence.
America’s mines and miners provide the materials that are the building blocks for nearly everything we rely upon, from essential medical devices, and anti-microbial hospital surfaces to fighter jets, essential telecommunications and smart phones. Mining also provides the coal that it is the foundation for the nation’s electricity grid, ensuring a reliable, balanced, affordable supply of power.
From hardrock mines producing copper, gold, uranium or silver to the nation’s coal mines producing the fuel to keep the lights on, mining is an absolutely critical industry that needs both flexibility and support in this unique moment to ensure it can weather the storm and come out the other side even stronger.
Mining is a named component of the two of the critical infrastructure sectors designated by the federal government: the energy sector and the critical manufacturing sector. As such the industry must be provided the flexibility to keep mines operating and maintained during the months ahead. Even as elected officials make the painful but necessary decisions to close schools and businesses and keep people home, we must keep some essential industries open and running. Mining and its support industries must be allowed the flexibility to continue operating in these difficult circumstances.
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