The best reason to support mining in America today is as follows: There is no EPA in most of the countries we are forced to buy our strategic minerals from. In the Congo cobalt is mined. The Congo is the main source for this mineral. Tribal leaders, sometimes referred to s war lords, get all of the money. They extort their people or force them to work in the mines. There are proven reserves of cobalt here in the U.S.
Another example, according to National Geographic Magazine, is in Peru. Young men in their teens are forced to go to work harvesting sulfur. These poor souls climb ladders into the mouth of a volcano to get pieces of sulfur. The average lifespan is 34 years due to the sulfur dioxide eating their lungs. Sulfur is a commercially recoverable product right here in the U.S. Sulfur emissions are captured by regulation during the refining process here and is considered a by-product.
Examples of this situation can be found associated with nearly all of the foreign countries the U.S. imports critical supplies of strategic minerals from. American mining has nearly been regulated out of business in favor of environmental issues.