American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • As Tech War Deepens Over REEs, Australia Steps Up to the Plate

    As the trade war between China and the United States deepens, concern over access to Rare Earths and other critical minerals is spreading all over the world.  While the U.S. is taking steps aimed at increasing domestic REE supplies — most recently manifesting in the Trump Administration’s invocation of the 69-year-old Defense Production Act and efforts to increase international cooperation with allies, Australia, too, is taking action.

    Reports the Straits Times:

    “Australia will step up production of rare earths and other militarily sensitive ‘tech metals’, the country’s defence minister said Monday (Aug 12), as doubts grow over the reliability of Chinese supplies.”

    According to Ms. Linda Reynolds, Australia has “at least 40 per cent of the known reserves of tech metals, whether it’s lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite but also most of the rare earths that our current technology and our lifestyles today relies on (…)” — deposits that “could safeguard supplies for allies including the United States and Britain.”  

    The possibility of Western allies obtaining metals from Australia had been discussed “at length at recent Australia-US ministerial consultations and in discussions with British counterparts,” reports the Straits Times.

    The news comes on the heels of an Australian mining company striking a deal with a German industrial company to develop Rare Earths in northern Australia after terminating a previous agreement with a Chinese firm.

    Earlier last month, a partnership between the U.S., Australia and Japan which includes the setting up of a separation facility in the United States was announced.

    The next few weeks an months will be instrumental in the “tech war” — the competition to see which country will dominate the 21st Century Technology Age. As the U.S. begins to take steps aimed at breaking free from the shackles of Chinese Rare Earths dominance, it is encouraging to see this increased level of cooperation with important strategic allies like Australia. 

  • Food For Thought:  To Drive Down Reliance on Fossil Fuels, Change Perception of Profession of Geology

    Wherever you come down on the political spectrum —  there is no denying that we find ourselves in the midst of a green energy transition.  Followers of ARPN know that the current push towards a lower-carbon future  hinges on sustainable and reliable access to metals and minerals, which are the building blocks of renewable energy technology. 

    A new piece for The Conversation looks at the issue from a fresh angle – through the prism of the profession of geologist. Writers Craig Storey, James Darling and Nick Koor, geologists from the United Kingdom, observe: 

    “Sadly – and wrongly – the most common view of geology as a profession is that its primary role is in the discovery and extraction of fossil fuels.

    But if we are to radically reduce emissions and move towards a low carbon economy, we’ll need geologists. Technologies such as wind turbines, solar panels or electric cars all require a wide range of natural materials that themselves are finite and often buried deep underground. By focusing on these materials, and the challenges of setting up all this new infrastructure, the discipline of geology can transition from being part of the climate problem to being part of the solution.”

    The three lament that the rise of the Extinction Rebellion movement has “changed the way young people think about the environment and the possible careers they want to pursue” — and the misunderstood “dirty polluter” image assigned to the geology profession is “not attractive to the many young people who care deeply about the planet and want to pursue a career that does not harm it.”

    Their bottom line:  a change in the perception of the profession of geologist is urgently needed — so that a new class of geologists will be trained to “drive down our reliance on fossil fuels.”  

    “[t]o transition to a carbon-neutral economy (if that’s ever quite achievable), we need dramatically to increase the available resources of a variety of so-called critical raw materials. Wind and other green sources of energy require significant geological expertise to ensure structural stability together with the raw earth materials needed for construction and power.

    Their “‘call to arms’ to unite geologists along with a coordinated effort from industry, professional bodies, learned societies, and the education sector to change the way geology is perceived, away from the ‘dirty polluter’ to ‘environmental guardian’” provides some valuable food for thought In the current policy discourse. Hopefully stakeholders will take note. 

  • ARPN Expert Panel Member on Strategic Metals Supply Chain in an Era of De-Globalization

    The trade war between China and the U.S., tensions between Russia and the West, the green energy transition — today’s political, geopolitical and economic pressures have significant implications for resource development. In a new piece on his blog, ARPN expert panel member and president of President of House Mountain Partners, LLC Chris Berry discusses “[t]he Strategic (…) more

  • McGroarty for the Economic Standard: In the Arctic Resource Wars, Greenland is a Hot Property

    In a new piece for The Economic Standard, ARPN’s Dan McGroarty puts the current controversy over President Trump’s quip about wanting to buy Greenland from Denmark in context. Invoking President Truman’s offer to purchase Greenland in 1946 as well as Secretary of State William Henry Seward’s 1867 purchase of Alaska — for which he received (…) more

  • Greenland at the Heart of Resource Race in 21st Century Tech War

    While a deal is not likely to happen, and some question whether the comment was more quip than opening offer, President Trump’s recent interest in buying Greenland from Denmark has done one thing: bring Greenland and the Arctic into focus.   The President’s suggestion has been ridiculed by many, but from a strategic perspective — (…) more

  • Materials Science Profiles of Progress: REE Extraction and Separation From Phosphoric Acid

    The tech war between China and the United States over who will dominate the 21st Century Technology Age is heating up. Earlier this week, China’s rare earth producers, who control the vast majority of global REE output, put out a statement declaring they are ready to “use their dominance of the industry as a weapon in (…) more

  • EPA Withdrawal of Preemptive Veto of Alaska Strategic Mineral Mining Project Positive Development for Due Process

    Amidst a recent uptick in government actions aimed at increasing domestic mineral resource development, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this month withdrew its preemptive proposed determination to restrict use of one of the largest domestic deposits of key strategic mineral resources (Copper, Molybdenum, Gold, Silver and Rhenium) in Southwestern Alaska.  As followers of (…) more

  • U.S. Steps Up International Cooperation to Counter Chinese Resource Threat

    Against the backdrop of mounting Chinese-American trade tensions, the United States is stepping up cooperative efforts with allies to reduce its reliance on Chinese supplies of Rare Earths.   The most recent case in point – a partnership with Australia and Japan – includes the setting up of a separation facility in the U.S. Reports (…) more

  • China’s Leverage: Supply Monopoly Shapes U.S. Policy

    In case you were wondering to what extent foreign powers are shaping domestic policy, the UK’s daily The Telegraph has a great overview piece on how “China’s supply of rare minerals, used in products like the iPhone, is causing a headache for Washington.” Using one of the most popular telecommunications gadgets – the iPhone – (…) more

  • Back to Basics – The “What?,” “Why?” And “Why Now?” On Mineral Resource Policy Reform

    China, trade, rare earths, EV battery technology, greening our energy future, resource dependence … there are lots of buzzwords these days surrounding mineral resource policy. And while there is a lot more interest in critical mineral issues these days – for good reason – there is also a lot of misinformation out there. In a (…) more