American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Paging the Department of Commerce – Australia Releases “Critical Minerals Strategy 2019”

    Last week, the Australian Federal Government released its Critical Minerals Strategy 2019 – a blueprint aimed at positioning “Australia as a leading global supplier of the minerals that will underpin the industries of the future” – which according to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Sciences’s press release, includes the agritech, aerospace, defence, renewable energy and telecommunications industries.

    Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said that some of the “world’s richest stocks of critical minerals” are located in Australia, and argued that “while the market for some of our minerals such as lithium is relatively mature, other minerals markets such as cobalt remain largely underdeveloped in Australia” – which is why “a key part of this strategy is about how industry and government agencies such as Austrade can work together to promote our potential to the world to attract more international investment, particularly in downstream projects and greenfield opportunities.”

    According to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, 

    “The strategy forms part of the Government’s broader plan for Australia’s resources sector, outlined in the recently released National Resources Statement.

    It builds on Geoscience Australia’s Critical Minerals Report and will soon be followed by Austrade’s Critical Minerals Prospectus.”

    Australia means business. Quite literally.

    Meanwhile, in the United States, there were indications that policy makers were finally realizing the need for a comprehensive mineral resource strategy, with several promising first steps towards alleviating our nation’s over-reliance on foreign mineral resources.  As followers of ARPN will know, we saw some incremental progress in 2018, including the release of the Department of the Interior’s list of 35 minerals deemed critical from both an economic and national security perspective — but we are still awaiting  further steps, including the release of the long-overdue report by the Department of Commerce subsequent to the 2017 presidential executive order on critical minerals, outlining a “broader strategy” and recommending specific policy steps to implement it.

    Perhaps the fact that Australia – a nation that ARPN and other proponents of mining policy reforms have been pointing to – is taking additional steps to bolster its position as a “world leader in the exploration, extraction, production and processing of critical minerals,” will provide fresh impetus for reform at home. 

  • Sustainably Greening the Future: Mining’s Growing Role in the Low-Carbon Transition

    At ARPN, we’ve long made the case that the current push towards a lower-carbon future is not possible without mining, as green energy technology relies heavily on a score of critical metals and minerals.

    In 2017, the World Bank World Bank published The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future, which echoed this conclusion. 

    While, as the World Bank argues“the growing demand for minerals and metals provides economic opportunities for resource-rich developing countries and private sector entities alike, significant challenges will likely emerge if the climate-driven clean energy transition is not managed responsibly and sustainably.”

    In order to support said responsible and sustainable management of the clean energy transition, the World Bank has developed the “Climate-Smart Mining” initiative, a new program designed to help “resource-rich developing countries benefit from the increasing demand for minerals and metals, while ensuring the mining sector is managed in a way that minimizes the social, environmental and climate footprint.”

    According to the World Bank’s program description,

    “Climate-Smart Mining supports the sustainable extraction and processing of minerals and metals to secure supply for clean energy technologies by minimizing the social, environmental, and climate footprint throughout the value chain of those materials by scaling up technical assistance and investments in resource-rich developing countries.” (…)

    Climate-Smart Mining builds on the work the World Bank is doing to help ensure resource-rich developing countries benefit from their mineral resources and manage them in a sustainable manner, while fostering economic growth and development. Our technical support also helps governments improve the investment climate by strengthening governance and building the capacities of key institutions, policy frameworks and legislation.

    The World Bank wants to ensure that resource-rich developing countries also benefit from the new mineral demand by de-risking investments using sustainable and responsible resource development strategies.”

    The World Bank has put together a great infographic capturing both the challenges ahead and the way the ways in which its initiative will seek to support tackling them:

    As we recently pointed out, advances in technology harnessed by the modern mining industry make it possible to restore a balance between mining and environmental protection – a position recently shared by Fleming Voetman, VP for Public Affairs at the International Copper Association, who, in a piece for GreenBiz, outlined how “[i]ndustries are responding by recognizing their responsibility and trying to meet the increased expectations of consumers, society and governments,” and are partnering with the World Bank and other institutions and organizations to move forward to sustainably greening the future.

    In the coming months, as the Climate-Smart Mining initiative unfolds, we will keep tabs on these and similar efforts on our blog.

  • ARPN Expert Panel Member: Congress Must Resume Push Towards Greater Independence from Foreign Sources of Oil and Key Minerals

    “Electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids are the future, but getting past our current reliance on internal combustion engines will require secure, domestic sources for a plethora of important minerals, such as rare earth metals,” writes Major General Robert H. Latiff, a retired Air Force general with a background in materials science and manufacturing technology — and (…) more

  • Release of USGS’s 2019 Mineral Commodity Summaries Once More Underscores Need for Resource Policy Reform

    The partial shutdown of the federal government at the beginning of this year had delayed its release, but last week, USGS published its 2019 Mineral Commodity Summaries. Followers of ARPN will know that we await the publication’s release with somewhat bated breath every year, as especially “Page 6” – the chart depicting U.S. Net Import (…) more

  • Sustainable Sourcing to Support Green Energy Shift – A Look at Copper

    Followers of ARPN will know that Copper is more than just an old school mainstay industrial metal.   We’ve long touted its versatility, stemming from its traditional uses, new applications and Gateway Metal status. Courtesy of the ongoing materials science revolution, scientists are constantly discovering new uses – with the latest case in point being (…) more

  • Materials Science Profiles of Progress – Advances in Metals and Minerals Research May Yield Breakthrough in Quest for Fusion Power

    “Thousands of years ago, humans discovered they could heat rocks to get metal, and it defined an epoch. Later, we refined iron into steel, and it changed the course of civilization. More recently, we turned petroleum into plastic, with all that implies. Whenever we create new materials that push the limits of what’s possible, we (…) more

  • ARPN Expert Panel Member Explains How a Look to the Past Could Help Us Move Forward on Green Energy Transition

    In his latest piece for The Hill, Ned Mamula, member of the ARPN panel of experts and adjunct scholar in geosciences at the Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute, zeroes in on what we have called the “inherent irony” of the Green New Deal – the fact that a green energy transition requires large quantities (…) more

  • Today: Three Members of ARPN Expert Panel to Discuss Battery Tech Materials and Supply Chains at Miller Thomson’s PDAC 2019

    Bearing testimony of the immense importance of the issue of battery tech materials and their supply chains, three members of the ARPN panel of issue experts will be presenting their viewpoints at a seminar hosted by Miller Thomson as part of their PDAC 2019 Series hosted in Toronto, Canada today. Simon Moores, Managing Director of (…) more

  • Section 232 Tariffs on Aluminum and Steel on the Way Out?

    News headlines these days are full of doom and gloom. As the Guardian writes, “whether or not the world really is getting worse, the nature of news will interact with the nature of cognition to make us think that it is.” Against this backdrop, it’s nice to see a little – albeit cautious – optimism (…) more

  • Critical Minerals Alaska – A Look at Germanium

    In the twelfth and final installment of his “Critical Minerals Alaska” series for North of 60 Mining News, Shane Lasley takes a look at Germanium – a lesser known yet vital ingredient in fiber optic cables and high-efficiency solar cells.  Followers of ARPN may remember Germanium as one of the key co-products for the gateway (…) more