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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • As Beijing Sees Coronavirus Pandemic as Opportunity to Weaken U.S. Position, America Should Bolster Domestic Mineral Supply Chains

    Earlier this month, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty argued that while the current focus on ending the dangerous dependence on critical medicines needed to combat COVID-19 is more than warranted, Congress and the administration “may want to broaden their focus from critical medicines to critical minerals.”

    In a new piece published in the Duluth News Tribune, Michael Stumo, CEO of the Coalition for a Prosperous America, echoes this sentiment.

    Arguing that “[t]he coronavirus pandemic has revealed that globalized supply chains cause more risk than Wall Street has led us to believe,” Stumo says that developing its own  mineral and metal supply chains “through smart, safe environmental practices, (…) could limit Beijing’s strategic dominance, particularly when China’s practices include forced labor and a disregard for environmental standards.”

    This is all the more important, he argues, as Beijing sees the current coronavirus pandemic as a golden opportunity. He writes:

    “Party officials in China are already looking to turn crisis into opportunity. Horizon Advisory reports that Beijing hopes the pandemic can ‘reverse any progress that the U.S. has made in countering China’s co-option of global industry.’”   

    Thankfully, we are in a position to counter this veiled threat. 

    As ARPN’s McGroarty argues:

    “It would be one thing if the U.S. had no geological presence of these metals and minerals, and was consigned to be an importer from supplier nations. But the U.S. is resource rich, geologically blessed with known resources of at least 32 of the 35 critical minerals [on the U.S. Government Critical Minerals List], with deposits of heavy rare earths in Texas, graphite in Alaska, manganese in Arizona – not to mention innovative methods to recycle and recover critical minerals from spent EV batteries, rhenium for jet fighter engines from copper waste in Utah, and all manner of critical minerals from coal waste in Pennsylvania that’s never been considered as a potential supply source.

    As these examples suggest, American innovation is ready to ‘work the problem’ of critical minerals supply. What remains is for American political leadership to make U.S. production a priority, and align public policy with a pressing national need. With the coronavirus reaching pandemic proportions, America’s political leaders are right to focus on the dangers of reliance on a Chinese supply chain for critical medicines. But the danger is no less real when it comes to reliance on Chinese supply of the critical minerals that power our 21st century tech economy – along with every advanced weapons platform in the American arsenal.”

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  • Materials Science Revolution Vs. Coronavirus: Copper-Infusion to Turn Common Cotton Fibers Into a “Defensive Wall”?

    Last week, we discussed the antimicrobial properties of copper, the re-introduction of which experts argue could help the fight against Coronavirus and future pandemics — particularly in hospitals and other public spaces. 

    Taking the notion of a new idea often being an old one further, an Israeli scientist has taken the mainstay material copper, and developed a proprietary cotton embedded with accelerated copper oxide particles, and combined it with a nanofiber textile that blocks pathogens to create a “reusable, washable, breathable antiviral facemask.”  Textile engineer Jeff Gabbay, who has a background in pathology and infectious diseases, has likened the process he discovered to beneficially infuse cotton to “commercial pasta-making on steroids.”

    His company, which, according to news reports should be nearing completion of the production of the first 20,000 facemasks this month and has plans to expand production to a wide variety of fabric products, recently completed testing at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School sponsored by the Centers of Disease Control.  

    The tests found that by changing patients’ gowns and bedding to the company’s “self-sterilizing copper-infused textiles,” healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) could be reduced by 25%, and multi-drug resistant organisms could be reduced by 40%. These numbers could be even more staggering if copper-infused textiles were used for “all things hospital” gear – including hospital staff uniforms, lab coats, scrubs and robes.

    We have frequently discussed the neck-breaking speed with which materials science is changing the application of metals and minerals.  Here’s a real-life example of how an old school material’s new applications could potentially save countless lives. 

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  • NMA’s Rich Nolan: As Lawmakers Map Out COVID-19 Response, Give Prominence to Mining

    While “[t]he health crisis posed by COVID-19 must be our first priority, (…) we must also in tandem tend to the economic upheaval wrought by the virus and the steps that must be taken to combat it,” writes Rich Nolan, president and CEO of the National Mining Association in a new piece for RealClearEnergy. With mining being [...]
  • COVID-19 Reveals Downsides of Globalized Supply Chains and Perils of Sole-Player Domination

    It’s like a scene from the movies. COVID-19 has not only taken over the headlines all over the world, it has slowed down economic activity, drastically scaled back public life, turned parents into homeschoolers, and sent financial markets into turmoil. It has also, as Forbes contributors Nives Dolsak and Aseem Prakash point out in a [...]
  • COVID-19 Requires Rethink – Time to Bring Back Copper in Public Spaces?

    Rock beats scissors. Scissors beat paper. Copper beats coronavirus. It sounds flippant, but at this moment of utmost seriousness, there’s a truth to it.  In a new piece, senior writer for Fast Company Mark Wilson discusses the thesis of Bill Keevil, professor of environmental healthcare at the University of Southampton, whose research has led him [...]
  • ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty for RealClearPolitics: “Time to Reduce Reliance on China for Medicine AND Critical Minerals”

    In a new piece for RealClear Politics, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty argues that while the current focus on ending the dangerous dependence on critical medicines needed to combat COVID-19 is more than warranted, Congress and the administration “may want to broaden their focus from critical medicines to critical minerals.” Read his full piece here: Getting Critical [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • U.S. Senate To Take Up Comprehensive Bipartisan Legislation Containing Critical Minerals Provisions As Early As This Week

    The U.S. Senate may cast a vote on a comprehensive bipartisan energy legislation package that contains provisions pertaining to critical mineral resource supply issues as early as this week.   S. 2657 is the legislative vehicle for the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA), a package consisting of several pieces of legislation, which reflect the “priorities of [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • New USGS Methodology Identifies 23 Mineral Commodities at Greatest Risk to Supply Disruption

    A new risk tool developed by researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners identifies 23 metals and minerals relevant to U.S. manufacturing that are at greatest risk to supply disruption. The methodology, entitled “Evaluating the Mineral Commodity Supply Risk of the U.S. Manufacturing Sector” and published in Science Advances was developed to help meet the [...]
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