American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Amidst Growing Tensions Between Washington, D.C. and Beijing, U.S. House of Representatives Launches Bipartisan “Critical Materials Caucus”

    As diplomatic and trade relations between the United States and China continue to deteriorate, members of the U.S. House of Representatives from both sides of the political aisle have joined forces to launch a bipartisan caucus to “focus on ways to increase domestic production of specialized minerals used to make missiles, cell phones and other high-tech equipment.”

    The “Critical Materials Caucus,” which has been approved by the House Administration Committee’s leadership, will be chaired by U.S. Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), and Guy Reschenthaler (R-Penn.) and will, according to news reports, “initially focus on legislation Swalwell has introduced to permanently fund rare earths research at U.S. Department of Energy laboratories.”

    Against the backdrop of a highly partisan political climate in Washington, D.C., the move is encouraging, and bears testimony to the urgency of our critical mineral supply chain woes, which the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has brought to the forefront.

    With the specter of material supply cutoffs from China looming, Rep. Swalwell told Reuters: 

    “All of us want to make sure America addresses this national security issue (…)I don’t consider China an ally country.” 

    Rep. Reschenthaler added: 

    “It is more important than ever for our nation to work towards achieving critical material independence.”

    While the caucus will initially start in the House, staffers have indicated that it could potentially expand to the U.S. Senate.

    We’ll be keeping tabs on the caucus’s work in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned for updates.

  • Time to “Decouple and Control” our Critical Mineral Resource Supply Chains

    The ongoing coronavirus pandemic tearing through our communities is more than a health crisis — it has “exposed the fragility and flaws of globalized supply chains and extensive offshore production, especially drugs and medical gear,” writes Austin Bay in a new column for Townhall with a special emphasis on China.  

    Hopes that China would liberalize in the wake of economic globalization that had “entwined the U.S. and Chinese economies in the 1990s” were misplaced. Warning signs of this — and of the consequences of an over-reliance on China for critical materials (such as in the form of the 2010 rare earths embargo) — were ignored, but with COVID-19, the chickens have come home to roost. 

    To minimize the damage and better prepare for the future, it is time for the United States to “decouple and control,” says Bay, explaining “[d]ecoupling is wonkspeak for separating supply chains. (The word’s easy; the chains and decoupling process are complex horrors.) ‘Control of production’ means ‘build it yourself.’”

    Bay invokes last month’s Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on securing supply chains post-COVID, during which panelists briefed Senators on the urgency of the situation and drove home the point that “China and Russia have significant control over ‘upstream raw resource supplies’ and manufacturing finished products.”

    He argues that as America begins the – arguably painful — process of decoupling and controlling, it can rely on allies like Mexico, Canada, and “roughly a dozen other nations for the production of critical military and health-related goods,” and that especially the new NAFTA, United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) which has replaced the nearly 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, can be a “powerful economic and diplomatic tool for decoupling from China’s pirate economy.” Other allied nations in the Indo-Pacific, Bay thinks, might be good candidates for a similar arrangements going forward, as China cannot be trusted.  

    Writes Bay:

    “Beijing’s recent decision to impose its national security law on Hong Kong renders the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 null and void.(…) So another Chinese Communist Party guarantee has entered the dustbin of history. (…)

    To protect their own political, economic and military security, the U.S. and other democracies must treat Beijing’s CCP regime as the aggressive adversary it is.”

    Thankfully, the urgency of the situation is — finally — resonating with U.S. policymakers on Capitol Hill, in the Cabinet Departments and at the White House. Legislation has been drafted and introduced, and new executive orders take aim at domestic strategic materials and critical mineral development.  Cabinet departments like the Department of Energy are also broadening their focus to account for the risks associated with our over-reliance on foreign (and especially Chinese) critical metals and minerals.

    Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, the U.S. had begun to enter into cooperative agreements with allied nations to ensure future supplies of critical materials, specifically with Canada and Australia. As we emerge from the fog of COVID-19, forging ahead with these types of agreements, and fostering a policy environment conducive to harnessing the United States’ vast domestic mineral potential will become paramount for our national security and economic wellbeing.

  • Materials Science Revolution in the Fight against COVID — Copper Continues to Lead the Charge

    Copper is arguably one of the key mainstay metals and building blocks of modern society.  However, in recent years — and most certainly over the past few months as the coronavirus pandemic has spanned the globe, its antimicrobial properties — known and appreciated already by the Ancients — have re-entered the spotlight. Reports of novel [...]
  • National Security Expert Calls for Securing Domestic Mineral Resource Supply Chains: “Crisis Borne from China’s Predation and Our Own Neglect No Longer Theoretical”

    After decades of watching “China become the world’s workshop as it snatches up industries, jobs and critical supply chains, [i]t’s time to restructure the global economy in our favor, and that means decisive action to shore up our most important industries,” writes Brig. Gen. John Adams (U.S. Army, retired), president of national security consulting firm Guardian Six [...]
  • ARPN’s McGroarty: “First Word in Supply Chain is ‘Supply’”

    Re-shoring is the word of the hour.  If the current coronavirus pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that we will need to rethink where we source and produce in the aftermath of COVID — an issue ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty zeroes in on in a new piece for The Economic Standard. Citing the excitement over the [...]
  • New Chart Unveils Supply Chain Weaknesses for Manganese, a Critical Input for EV Technology

    Testifying before the U.S Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in February 2019, ARPN expert panel member and managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Simon Moores sounded the alarm on the supply chains of metals and minerals that are key components of battery technology and energy storage. Arguing that we were in the middle [...]
  • ARPN’s McGroarty: Copper to the Rescue in Fight Against COVID-19, Future Pandemics?

    In a new piece for The Economic Standard, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty zeroes in on the anti-microbial properties of Copper as a potential weapon in the fight against COVID-19 virus and future pandemics. We previously discussed the issue here and here. Read the full piece courtesy of The Economic Standard: Copper Beats Corona: A New, Old [...]
  • To Reduce Supply Chain Vulnerabilities, U.S. Should Tap Domestic Mineral Resources More

    Over the past few weeks, the spread of the coronavirus has begun to expose the supply chain challenges associated with an over-reliance on foreign raw materials, the effects of which will be felt across broad segments of manufacturing. In a new piece for PennLive Patriot-News, Michael Stumo, CEO of the Coalition for a Prosperous America [...]
  • Coronavirus Underscores Perils of Resource Dependence – A Look at Rare Earths

    While many first think of the human dimension and health implications of the recent outbreak and ongoing spread of the coronavirus — and quite rightly, given the potentially  fatal consequences — the crisis with pandemic potential has ramifications that reach far beyond the health sector. In a new piece for Tech Metal News, Shane Lasley takes a [...]
  • New USGS Methodology Identifies 23 Mineral Commodities at Greatest Risk to Supply Disruption

    A new risk tool developed by researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners identifies 23 metals and minerals relevant to U.S. manufacturing that are at greatest risk to supply disruption. The methodology, entitled “Evaluating the Mineral Commodity Supply Risk of the U.S. Manufacturing Sector” and published in Science Advances was developed to help meet the [...]