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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • ARPN Expert Panel Member: U.S. Must Turn to Building Out Critical Mineral Supply Chains Securing Both Inputs and Outputs

    Earlier this month, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), long one of the leaders on Capitol Hill pushing for a comprehensive overhaul of our nation’s mineral resource policy, addressed the challenges of our nation’s over-reliance on foreign – and especially China-sourced critical metals and minerals against the backdrop of the current Coronavirus pandemic in a post for the online discussion forum OurEnergyPolicy.org.”

    Citing ARPN expert panel member and managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Simon Moores, who in 2019 testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which Sen. Murkowski chairs, lamented that the U.S. was so far merely a “bystander” in the “global battery arms race,” Sen.Murkowski wrote:

    “We have effectively surrendered the front end of the supply chain to other nations. If we fail to adjust course, we will continue to cede jobs and economic growth. We will face supply disruptions and price spikes for essential building blocks that we effectively choose not to produce. The Trump administration deserves credit for the steps it has taken to change our trajectory, and I have re-introduced my American Mineral Security Act to strengthen those efforts. (…)

    As our country begins to emerge from the current crisis and considers options to restore our economy, it is critical that we set a course for long-term resilience by addressing the supply chain vulnerabilities the pandemic has exposed. That should start with mineral security—and the modernization of federal policies that will serve to protect us going forward.”

    Invited to comment on Murkowski’s remarks, Moores took to OurEnergyPolicy earlier this week and noted that since his Senate testimony, “the US has fallen further behind in this global battery arms race.

    He elaborates: 

    “In February 2019, there were 70 battery megafactories in the pipeline of which 46 are in China and 5 in the USA. Today there are 136 of these super-sized electric vehicle battery plants in operation or being planned: 101 in China and 8 in the USA. China is building a battery gigafactory (megafactory) at the rate of one every week; the USA at one every four months. In 2019, China produced 72% of the world’s lithium-ion batteries whereas the USA only 9%.”

    What is key, he notes, is that China has “not just built an entire suite of super-sized battery megafactories for its auto industry, but the entire supply chain to feed them.”While only producing 23% of key battery raw materials combined, he points out, China produces 80% of battery chemicals, which represent the next step in the supply chain. Moores concludes: 
     

    “The world’s supply chain arrows point toward’s China for production of lithium-ion batteries as China understands that this is the enabling technology for the 21st-century auto industry and critical to our future energy needs via storage.

    This isn’t just making batteries for a niche auto, this is industrial infrastructure the 21st century and China holds the sway of power. The USA needs to ask itself when the last time it built a heavy industry from scratch? It’s likely to be before its leaders were born in 1933 and FDR’s New Deal. This is the scale of the challenge facing the world’s biggest economy: Building secure, local, hi-tech supply chains for a lithium-ion economy. In turn, this will create millions of jobs and put the USA at the forefront of this energy storage revolution.

    Now that the battery megafactories have arrived, Moores says the “focus must turn to building them within the USA and securing the inputs (raw materials) and outputs (recycling) to make this happen.”

    The time to end our “bystander” status in the global battery arms race (and beyond, because our over-reliance on foreign metals and minerals does not end with battery tech) is now.  

    ***

    Read more from several ARPN expert panel members on critical mineral supply chain security challenges here:

    And for a visual introduction to the issue of our nation’s mineral over-reliance on China, check out these two clips by the Clear Energy Alliance. 

  • ARPN Expert Panel Member on Globalization, Supply Chains: “What We Thought the Future Was Going to Look Like May Change Markedly”

    Over the past few weeks, the spread of the coronavirus has exposed the supply chain challenges associated with an over-reliance on foreign raw materials.   With the effects being felt across broad segments of manufacturing, supply chain security — for medical devices, for personal protective equipment (PPE), pharmaceuticals, and beyond — is (finally) becoming one of the focal points for policy makers on Capitol Hill.   

    As legislation to boost domestic resource production is being drafted and (re-)introduced, it becomes clear that our supply chains will have to look different in a post-COVID-19 world. 

    Writes ARPN expert panel member and President of House Mountain Partners, LLC Chris Berry:

    “The effects on all of us of COVID-19 are hard to fathom as the virus threatens economic activity through both a supply and demand shock of indeterminant proportions. The light at the end of the tunnel is that this will blow over eventually, but what we thought the future was going to look like may change markedly.” 

    In a series of posts on his website www.discoveryinvesting.com (arguably aimed primarily at an investment audience), Berry provides context and addresses some key questions including, among others: 

    - How does COVID-19 affect the thematic of de-globalization and supply chain regionalization? Is the result inherently inflationary or deflationary?

    - Does the collapse in oil pricing and a race to the bottom in global interest rates slow down or accelerate the transition towards electrification?

    - What will raw material producers need to do in order to ensure the viability of their businesses going forward (from juniors to producers)? What is the optimal capital structure and what do companies do to manage costs with ESG pressures only set to increase?  

    Take a look here, and if you’re not following @cberry1 on Twitter yet, you can fix this oversight here.

  • Demand for Certain Metals and Minerals to Increase by Nearly 500%, According to New World Bank Study

    At ARPN, we have long argued 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. The World Bank’s latest report, entitled “The Mineral Intensity of the Clean Energy Transition,” published earlier this week in the context of the (…) more

  • Copper at the Frontlines – Hong Kong to Distribute Face Masks Containing Copper to Its Citizens

    Known and appreciated already by the Ancients for its antimicrobial properties, Copper has recently entered into the discourse over how to fight the current coronavirus outbreak and future pandemics.   A case in point is a new Assembly bill in New York, which seeks to reduce the spread of infection by requiring all new construction (…) more

  • U.S. Import Reliance, Supply Chains, and National Security – A Visual

    The current coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on many aspects of social life and public policy. With nations struggling to secure critical medicines and other supplies, many of which are sourced from China, the global crisis is increasingly exposing the challenges associated with supply chain security — for medical devices, for personal protective (…) more

  • Against Backdrop of COVID-19, State Assembly Bill Calls for Use of Antimicrobial Copper in Public Construction

    Legislation introduced in the State Assembly of New York, a state that has been hit particularly hard by the current coronavirus pandemic, would require publicly funded construction projects to use antimicrobial copper. The bill, introduced by Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D-Marcy), would “require all new construction projects receiving state funding to use copper alloy touch surfaces (…) more

  • College Seniors Develop Copper Phone Case – A “Smart Move” for Smartphones Amidst a Pandemic

    Courtesy of the current coronavirus pandemic, we wash our hands – perhaps more frequently and thoroughly than before, and contactless shopping is becoming the norm for many.  Disinfectant has become more than a household staple, and we find ourselves constantly sanitizing everything from light switches over door handles to groceries.   To borrow a quote (…) more

  • ARPN’s McGroarty for The Economic Standard: Red Swan – a Leaked 2010 Cable on Critical Infrastructure/Key Resource Vulnerabilities Provided Warning Signs We Failed To Act On

    In a new piece for The Economic Standard, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty argues that while the “intellectual shrug” of “who could have seen this coming” tends to be a common reaction to our new normal of sheltering in place and social distancing, there were warning signs for a coming crisis we failed to recognize for what they were, and act (…) more

  • 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 (…) more

  • COVID-19-Related Supply Chain Challenges Fuel Calls for Strengthening Domestic Resource Development

    In a new piece for the National Journal, Brian Dabbs takes a closer look at efforts on Capitol Hill to address the United States’ “strained” supply chain for pharmaceuticals and medical devices and beyond. He reports that a push to pass “legislation to boost U.S. production of dozens of minerals to stave off similar crises in the future,” — (…) more

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