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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • ARPN Expert Zeroes in on Issues Surrounding Uranium – an “Underappreciated Energy Source”

    In a new series for Capital Research Center, Ned Mamula, member of the ARPN expert panel, adjunct scholar in geosciences at the Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute, and co-author of “Groundbreaking! America’s New Quest for Mineral Independence,” takes a closer look at Uranium – an “underappreciated energy source.” 
    In the four-part-part series, Mamula outlines the main properties  of uranium, provides a snapshot of the United States’ vast uranium resources—and why these resources remain largely untapped, and zeroes in on how Russia’s cornering the market affects the U.S. 
    Mamula raises an important point:

    “America in the 21st century runs on electricity, which is why this issue is rightfully discussed within the context of national security. As the nation approaches 100 percent reliance on foreign uranium, there is always the possibility for an embargo or partial restriction of exports to the U.S. by one or more countries. Such action may not be as dramatic as a rare earth-related or other critical-mineral embargo, because the U.S. does have alternative forms of energy to supply power. But that reasoning seems to ring hollow in terms of the great value America places on its comprehensive approach to provide reliable and affordable energy to the nation. The U.S. previously declared ‘energy independence’ and now the current administration policy is ‘energy dominance.’ Neither will come to pass if we abandon the American uranium industry.

    Thus, a key question remains. Why does the U.S. rely on adversaries and unstable countries for uranium supplies, especially when uranium is in relative abundance in our own land? Ostensibly, the U.S. could mine and produce many tens of millions of pounds a year, relying on friendly countries for the remainder.”

    He provides an answer himself:

    “Answer: Because uranium import over-reliance and uranium mining underperformance are locked together—each is caused by the other—and the cycle continues to spiral downward in a race to the bottom.”

    In the final installment of the series, Mamula shares his take on how the Russian purchase of a North American uranium producer could have “dire effects on the nation’s energy supply, the economy, and national security by threatening America’s uranium mining industry.”

    Primarily known for its energy applications, (and thus falling under the purview of the Department of Energy) Uranium may have not been much of a focal point for  ARPN in the past.  However the policy issues surrounding it — many of which will have a familiar ring to them to followers of ARPN —  may warrant a closer look in the future. 
  • Materials Science Profiles of Progress: DoE’s New Research Center on Lithium Battery Recycling to Leverage Resources of Private Sector, Universities and National Laboratories

    Speaking at the Bipartisan Policy Center’s American Energy Innovation Council last week, Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced the launch of a new research center on lithium battery recycling.

    The Battery Recycling R&D Center will focus on reclaiming and recycling “critical materials (e.g. cobalt and lithium) from lithium based battery technology used in consumer electronics, defense, energy storage, and transportation applications,” and will be led by Argonne National Laboratory along with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

    Said Sec. Perry:

    “America’s dependence on foreign sources of critical materials undermines our energy security and national security. (…) DOE will leverage the power of competition and the resources of the private sector, universities, and the National Laboratories to develop innovative recycling technologies, which will bolster economic growth, strengthen our energy security, and improve the environment.

    A commendable effort, the initiative is a direct response to Presidential Executive Order 13817, which, issued in December of 2017, calls for “developing critical minerals recycling and reprocessing technologies” embedded into a broader strategy to “ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals.” 

    While we applaud the launch of the new research hub, DoE’s reference of the “broader strategy to ‘ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals’” in its press release is important. As followers of ARPN will know, recycling will not obviate the need for traditional mining and is as such not a panacea for mineral resource supply woes – and we are still waiting for the release of the — by now long-overdue — report by the Department of Commerce subsequent to 13817 outlining said “broader strategy” and recommending specific policy steps to implement it. 

    In the meantime, however, with innovations in the field and concerted efforts to not only improve extraction technologies, but to also develop products and materials in ways that lend themselves to easier reclamation of metals, recycling does represent a viable opportunity to alleviate pressures, and we look forward to following the efforts of the Center.

  • Welcome to the “Ion Age”? The Ongoing Rise of Battery Technology

    Unless you’ve spent the last few years under a rock, you know that battery technology is the new black. With a new detailed “briefing” feature, The Guardian even goes as far as ringing in the “Ion Age” – a play on lithium-ion battery technology, which continues to make headlines. Writers Adam Vaughan and Samuel Gibbs (…) more

  • ARPN Expert: Partisan Politics Aside, New Congress Holds Opportunity to Strengthen Defense Industrial Base

    In a new piece for Defense News, Jeff Green, president of Washington, D.C.-based government relations firm J.A. Green & Company, and member of the ARPN panel of experts, calls on lawmakers on Capitol Hill to work towards overcoming partisan divides and “find common ground to support the defense-industrial base.” One of the first analysts to (…) more

  • Washington’s Mining and Resource Policy Agenda – What’s in Store for 2019?

    As we get back into the swing of things, a new piece for E&E News previews the anticipated 2019 mining and mineral resource policy agenda in Washington, DC. Here are some of the highlights: With a shift of power in the House of Representatives, hard rock leasing and reclamation issues are expected to come up (…) more

  • Copper and the 2018 Critical Minerals List – Considerations for Resource Policy Reform

    While we’re still waiting for policy makers and other stakeholders to take further action, in 2018 an important step was taken to set the stage for mineral resource policy reform with the release of the Department of Interior’s List of 35 Minerals Deemed Critical to U.S. National Security and the Economy. Throughout the drafting stage (…) more

  • 2019 New Year’s Resolutions for Mineral Resource Policy Reform

    Out with the old, in with the new, they say. It‘s new year‘s resolutions time.  With the end of 2017 having set the stage for potentially meaningful reform in mineral resource policy, we outlined a set of suggested resolutions for stakeholders for 2018 in January of last year.  And while several important steps  were taken (…) more

  • 2018 – A Year of Incremental Progress?

    In case you hadn’t noticed amidst holiday preparations, travel arrangements and the usual chaos of everyday life – 2019 is just around the corner, and with that, the time to reflect on the past twelve months has arrived. So here is ARPN’s recap of 2018: Where we began. Unlike previous years, we started 2018 with (…) more

  • Gold Leapfrogged by “Obscure and Far Less Sexy” Metal – A Look at Palladium

    Valuable and precious, Gold, for example in jewelry, is a popular go-to for gifts during the holidays.  Who knew that gold’s luster would be dimmed by a metal that “scrubs your exhaust,” as the New York Times phrased it?  It may still not end up under many Christmas trees, but Palladium, an “obscure and far less sexy (…) more

  • U.S. To Partner With Australia on Critical Minerals R&D

    During an industry event in Melbourne, Australian Resources Minister Matt Canavan announced that Australia and the United States are going to sign a preliminary agreement to foster mineral research and development cooperation between the two countries. The announcement comes on the heels of the release of U.S. Department of Interior’s list of 35 metals and (…) more

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