Elko Daily Free Press: Supporting American mining to grow our economy

by Senator Jon Tester

As a third-generation Montana farmer, I’ve been spending a lot of time on my tractor finishing up planting this spring. Every year I plant my fields with crops like wheat, barley, peas and millet. Later in the year I’ll have to pick rock – that means literally clearing my fields of all rocks, small and large. I won’t lie, it’s some of the hardest and most frustrating work I do on the farm. It’s given me an appreciation for a hard day’s work, and it literally keeps me grounded.

So while I may not be a miner myself, I know a thing or two about picking, digging, and working hard to maximize what Mother Nature has to offer us. That’s why I know how important it is that we support American mining so that we can grow our economy, maintain access to critical minerals, and reduce our dependence on foreign adversaries like China.

At a time when Montana families are facing rising costs on everything from housing to groceries, we need to do everything we can to bring costs down by easing the strain on our supply chains, bringing manufacturing back to America, and growing good-paying jobs so folks can provide a good life for their families right here at home.

Our very own Montana miners across cities like Butte, America, have the opportunity to lead the charge during this new chapter of American manufacturing and economic growth. Montana Resources, right in the heart of The Mining City, provides good-paying jobs and produces copper from ore grades that was not previously possible. Like other locations in Montana, they have deposits of critical minerals that can only be extracted profitably with investments in research. That’s why it’s critical that we increase domestic research and development so that miners can help America maintain our position as the world’s leading economic power.

In the Senate, I worked with Republicans and Democrats to pass legislation like my bipartisan infrastructure law, along with my CHIPs and Science Act, to do just that. These commonsense bills will boost high-tech production at home, strengthen our supply chains, and invest in the kinds of research and innovation that will allow Montana miners to strengthen our economy. Montana is poised to drive the next leap forward in technology — and we can do it in sustainable ways through partnerships with government, industry, and academia.

Investing in American mining will also reduce our dependence on foreign adversaries like China, who want nothing more than to take our place as the world’s premier economic power.

Look, I won’t sugarcoat it: the Chinese Communist Party is the pacing threat facing our country, and they want to take our place on the world stage. Montanans deeply value our freedom and privacy, and China is working to undermine those American values right before our eyes. We can’t let that happen.

Fortunately, we have the opportunity to counter adversaries like China by investing in research and development and working on new ways to locate, extract, and process critical minerals. By modernizing our infrastructure and investing in innovation right here in our own backyard, we can make sure our adversaries no longer have a stranglehold on access to the raw materials we need to build technology, and ensure our military has the tools they need to keep our country safe. If we continue to invest in American manufacturing and sustainable mining – with places like Montana leading the charge – we can stop our adversaries dead in their tracks.

The bottom line is that we have the opportunity to grow our economy and stay ahead of our foreign adversaries if we leverage research and development dollars and work on new ways to locate, extract, and process critical minerals.

You have my word that I’ll continue to take on anyone in Washington to ensure we are investing in American mining, especially right here in the Treasure State.