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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • China’s Saber-Rattling over Rare Earths Card Getting Louder

    After months of rumblings, it appears that China is gearing up to play its “rare earths card” again.

    Citing people involved in a government consultation, the Financial Times reports that Beijing is gauging exactly how badly companies in the United States and Europe, including U.S. defense contractors, would be affected by plans to restrict exports of rare earth elements.

    According to Chinese media, REE exports had already dropped by more than 20 percent following the passage of a new broad export control law restricting sales of items relating to Chinese national security that went into effect on December 1, 2020. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has since proposed more specific language to impose controls on REE production and exports.

    The development ties into the overall context of a deterioration of Chinese-American diplomatic and trade relations against the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the buildout of 5G technology having emerged as a new frontier in the deepening tech war between the two global players.

    With China controlling more than 70% of global REE output, the specter of China weaponizing its position — yet again — is a serious threat to our national security and economic wellbeing. This is especially true when one considers that, while crucial, rare earths are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when considering our overall critical mineral resource dependencies — a fact for which USGS has just provided the annual reminder with the release of its Mineral Commodity Summaries 2021, which lists China 24 times as one of the major import sources of metals and minerals for which our net import reliance is 50% or greater.

    2020 has underscored the urgency of shoring up our domestic critical mineral resource supply chains, and has yielded important progress with regards to policies aimed at reducing our over-reliance on foreign, and especially Chinese metals and minerals.

    While the Biden Administration is — understandably — reviewing the preceding Administration’s policies, it is important that stakeholders realize that we can’t admire the problem anymore. We don’t have the luxury of time.

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  • Don’t Abandon Those New Resolutions Just Yet: ARPN’s Look Ahead for Domestic Resource Development in 2021

    “Out with the old, in with the new” goes the old adage, and — particularly against the backdrop of a rabidly partisan climate in Washington, DC, the Biden Administration, which begins tomorrow, will likely be pressured to swiftly undo many policy changes the outgoing Trump Administration made per executive action.

    Yet as this Constitutionally-mandated date arrives, ARPN suggests our friends and followers observe a different date, established by a social study utterly lacking in legal authority: Today – January 19 – marks the day that, on average, people abandon their New Year’s resolutions. We hereby challenge friends of ARPN to buck the trend, and resolve anew to make 2021 a strong year for resource development.

    And there is reason to hope. Begin with the observation that — all partisan politics aside — several of the executive steps taken during the Trump presidency were in fact a continuation of initial actions taken during the Obama Administration, under which the Department of Energy began formulating a Critical Minerals Strategy and the Critical Materials Institute, a leading authority on critical minerals R&D, was founded.

    One of the most consequential steps taken by the outgoing Trump administration was probably E.O. 13953, which declared a critical minerals national emergency and instructs the Department of the Interior to explore the application of the Defense Production Act. That EO is one of a number of relevant executive actions taken during the past few years (for examples see our Year in Review posts here).

    Rather than broadly rescinding executive actions (minus those that were codified into law in late December/early January) or initiating new rule-making processes to undo them, we will be watching to see whether the Biden Administration undertakes a merit-based review of individual actions, to ensure that our nation continues down the path towards a more comprehensive mineral resource policy begun under the Obama Administration and kicked into high gear over the past few years.

    And on this day when so many statistically slide back to old ways best left in the past, ARPN hereby resolves to renew our resolution to add our efforts to those that will make 2021 a banner year for domestic resource development.

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  • Critical Mineral Developments Continue in the Waning Days of 2020 — and Into the Early Days of the New Year

    If you’ve read our Year in Review post last month, you know 2020 was a busy year on the mineral resource policy front — so much so that even the last few days of December had several important developments. Most notably, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. While most of the media’s attention [...]
  • 2020 – A Watershed Year for Resource Policy

    ARPN’s Year in Review — a Cursory Review of the United States’ Critical Mineral Resource Challenge in 2020 It feels like just a few weeks ago many of us quipped that April 2020 seemed like the longest month in history, yet here we are: It’s mid-December, and we have almost made it through 2020. It’s [...]
  • Has Canada Just Jump-Started its Electric Vehicle Sector? – A Look at the Recent Ford Canada Labor Deal Through the Prism of an Integrated North American Value Chain

    From a U.S. perspective, arguably the biggest news in the critical minerals sector in recent weeks has been U.S. President Trump’s latest executive order on critical minerals, which, according to analysts, is the first one in this field “that has the potential to bring some meaningful changes.” Aside from calling on the Department of the [...]
  • “It’s Complicated.”   Reckoning with the Unique Material Inputs of the 5G Rollout

    As diplomatic and trade relations between the United States and China continue to deteriorate against the backdrop of the current coronavirus pandemic, the buildout of 5G technology is quickly becoming the new frontier in the tech war between the two global players.  5G is considered vital not only for 21st century telecommunications but also self-driving [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • State Department Hopeful More Nations Will Join Energy Resource Governance Initiative in the Wake of COVID

    ***posted by Daniel McGroarty*** As demand for renewable energy continues to grow despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of State hopes to expand the Energy Resource Governance Initiative (ERGI) – an initiative launched last year by the United States and joined by ten other countries, including Canada, Australia and Brazil – aimed at improving supply chain security [...]
  • 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 [...]

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