[VIDEO] Is U.S. Manufacturing Making a Comeback?
After decades of outsourcing, companies are bringing production back to the United States and a big part is due to the mining industry.
Earlier this year, the National Mining Association (NMA) commissioned SNL Metals & Mining to conduct a study to demonstrate the extent in which minerals produced in the U.S. contribute to the domestic manufacturing industries. The goal of the report was to provide a comprehensive and accessible report for the public and policy makers.
According to the report, the average American born in 2013 will depend on roughly three million pounds of minerals, metals and fuels during their lifetime.
“The 27,416 pounds of iron ore, 978 pounds of copper, 521 pounds of zinc and 1.8 ounces of gold, among other minerals and metals, will allow the average American to driver safer cars on better roads and bridges, live in sustainable buildings, use laptops and smart phones and generally enjoy a high quality life.”
Although the U.S mining sector is currently in a great position to support manufacturers’ for sustainability and shorter supply chains in the production process, there’s a problem: an outdated, inefficient permitting system, which presents a barrier to American companies’ access to the minerals they need.
A streamlined permitting process, which would essentially help provide U.S. manufacturers with secure sources of the raw materials they need, which in return would boost the manufacturing sector in the United States providing more jobs and resources to Americans.
Gerald Group resolves iron ore dispute with Sierra Leone
Gerald Group, the US commodity trader, will pay Sierra Leone $20mn and cede a 10% stake in an iron ore project as part of the resolution to a nearly two-year dispute that led to the shutdown of production, the two sides revealed.
Gerald's wholly-owned subsidiary SL Mining filed for arbitration in August 2019 over a royalty payment dispute and suspended the Marampa mine the following month. Sierra Leone's government responded by cancelling its mining licence.
As part of the agreement signed on Friday, Sierra Leone will take a non-dilutable 10% stake in a new company that will replace SL Mining and resume operations at Marampa by June 1, Gerald said in a statement.
Gerald will make two $10mn payments this year and will have the immediate right to ship its current stockpile of about 707,000 tonnes of iron ore, it said.
Both sides will withdraw their legal claims before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the statement added.
Gerald’s chairman and CEO Craig Dean commented: "I am delighted that we have been able to resolve our differences and have a fresh start and new beginning with the government of Sierra Leone."
Sierra Leone's Mines Minister Timothy Kabba told a news conference on Tuesday that the agreement was a milestone for the country.
"Whatever the pain we may have borne or dreaded throughout these two years ... this outcome justifies our action," he said.
Gerald estimates that Marampa holds about 1 billion tonnes of iron ore with a potential lifespan of 30 years.
Back in 2019, Dean spoke with Mining about the development of Marampa and commented: "SL Mining offers a substantial opportunity for Gerald Group as our Marampa mine in Sierra Leone is producing two million tonnes per annum of high grade iron ore in the first phase of development, with expansion possibilities of greater than six million tonnes per annum of high-grade iron ore during its operational life. If you analyse the iron ore market it has transformed, even from a couple of years ago when prices were very low. Now prices have stabilised we’re in a favourable position with our first shipments leaving for China.
"Our goal is to make ‘Marampa Blue’ an internationally recognised premium grade iron ore brand. We intend to expand the delivery of high-grade 65% iron ore concentrate to markets in Europe and Africa.”