American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Will Congress Create an Economic Czar With Unchecked Power Over U.S. Mines, Pipelines, and Railways?


    While the Government Shutdown dominates the news channels and occupies the pundits, the U.S. Congress continues to conduct business with potentially far-reaching impact on the U.S. economy and national security.

    Case in point: Debate concerning H.R. 687, the Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act – a meticulously crafted bill that would allow a proposed Arizona copper mine to proceed, with the mining company donating 5,000 acres of high-quality conservation land to the federal government. Anti-mining activists are using the Great Shutdown as cover to float an amendment to the land swap bill that, if adopted, in the words of one Capitol Hill reporter, “…would become the environmentalists’ most powerful tool to kill economic development throughout the nation.”

    The proposed amendment “would empower the Secretary of Interior to override existing laws that protect tribal sacred sites and designate land as an Indian ‘cultural site’” – authority anti-mine activists would use to press for a decision derailing the copper mine. The amendment’s backers “argue that any land where Native Americans have prayed and gathered is enough to trigger the designation. Is there any land in the United States that does not meet that threshold?”

    But, the report goes on, that’s not what “has environmentalists’ mouths watering:”

    “Many observers believe that this precedent-setting amendment is a dry run to kill the Keystone Pipeline project specifically and set up a new paradigm for development in America. Can anyone say with a straight face that somewhere along the thousands of miles of pipes, there will not be a parcel of land where Native Americans once slept, gathered or ate?”

    This sweeping new Executive Branch authority comes as anti-mining advocates continue their campaign to have the EPA “discover” in legislative language written 40 years ago a pre-emptive veto power over mining projects that have not even presented a mine plan for permitting. Witness the recent decision by one of the partners in Alaska’s proposed Pebble copper and multi-metal mine to pull out of the project — now claimed as a victory by groups like Earthworks, who have never found a single mine that meets their standards.

    As our own Daniel McGroarty has noted, these efforts typically begin with a single mine and a single metal, but the chilling effect is felt across the entire U.S. resource development sector, derailing projects that could produce the metals and minerals that feed American manufacturing – and perpetuating foreign metal dependencies to the detriment to the U.S. economy and, in many cases, our national security.

    One day the Great Government Shutdown will end. Here’s hoping that when the Federal Government gears up again, the country won’t find that Congress has created a federal Economic Development Czar with the ultimate power over projects that affect our economic strength and technological progress.

  • U.S. House may take up strategic minerals legislation this week


    The U.S. House of Representatives may take up Congressman Mark Amodei’s (R, Nev.) H.R. 761, the “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013,” this week.

    The bill ties into the overall context of mineral resource security and our growing minerals deficit, an issue that is of critical importance to our nation’s manufacturing base, as evidenced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement of the bill in July this year. In its endorsement letter, the Chamber made clear:

    “Of the 25 top mining countries, according to the Behre Dolbear Group’s annual Ranking of Countries for Mining Investment Where “Not to Invest,” the United States is tied with Papua New Guinea for having the most mining permitting delays. As a result, the United States remains a major importer of strategic and critical minerals, despite having vast reserves, and has become increasingly dependent upon foreign sources for these minerals. H.R. 761 would reduce permitting delays while protecting the environment which would in turn increase domestic production of these much needed minerals.”

    Another bill of relevance to our readers, which may be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives this week, is Rep. Paul Gosar’s (R, Ariz.) H.R. 687, which would approve a land swap for an Arizona copper mine – an issue that, as recently discussed by ARPN president Daniel McGroarty on The Hill’s Congress Blog, also ties into the context of our growing minerals deficit.

    Having had a late start into the intensifying global race for resources, it is about time the U.S. take steps to finally address the issue in a strategic and comprehensive manner – or, as McGroarty phrases it:

    “It’s time for the U.S. to adopt a 21st century critical metals strategy – and reform our ever-expanding process. The strength of the U.S. economy – and our national security – depends on it.”

  • A Response to the EPA’s Release of its Revised Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment

    The EPA just released its revised Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, outlining the potential impacts of a hypothetical mine in the Pebble region of southwestern Alaska. Unfortunately, the EPA’s study relies on research conducted by the U.S. firm Stratus Consulting and its Managing Scientist, Ann Maest, both of whom just a few short days ago publicly [...]
  • As graphite demand increases, geopolitical dimension becomes more apparent

    ProEdgeWire’s Graphite and Graphene Weekly Review sees surging demand for graphite and its derivative graphene, not least because of their important role in battery technology, where graphite continues to be a traditional component, while graphene is considered a major factor in future generation batteries. Recent reports of aircraft batteries catching fire won’t change that – [...]
  • Interview: Putting the Chinese-Japanese island dispute into perspective

    In a three-part interview series with Metal Miner, American Resources principal Daniel McGroarty discusses resource nationalism, the role of China in global resource wars and lessons for the United States’ mineral resource strategy against the backdrop of the East China Sea territorial dispute between China and Japan over a tiny group of islands, with outsized [...]
  • EPA overregulation could cost U.S. $220 billion in investment

    The Daily Caller reports that the EPA’s preemptive assessment of the Pebble copper and gold mine in Alaska could cost the U.S. $220 billion in investment. The agency’s report, based on an evaluation of a hypothetical mine, expresses concern over the site’s potential environmental impact and could lead to Pebble’s rejection before it has a [...]
  • Happy zinc month! – Zinc a driving force in China’s strategy in Latin America

    Continuing our informational campaign to highlight the breadth of our nation’s metals and minerals needs, we’re going to drill down into the utilities of and challenges associated with zinc this month. In its ongoing efforts to satiate its growing appetite for mineral resources, China – long having enlarged its footprint in Africa – has recently [...]
  • A new “super strong magnetic material” to replace REE-based magnets?

    Northeastern University scientists caused a stir earlier this week with their announcement that they have designed a “super strong magnetic material that may revolutionize the production of magnets found in computers, mobile phones, electric cars and wind-powered generators,” alluding to the possibility of replacing neodymium/praseodymium permanent magnets. On his website TechMetalResearch.com, American Resources expert Gareth [...]
  • The Geography and Geopolitics of Copper Mining

    As we’re kicking off week two of “Copper Month” at American Resources, here’s a look at the geography at global copper mining, and the geopolitical challenges that arise from it.  According to the USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries, most of the world’s copper is mined in Chile, Peru, and China. The U.S. ranks fourth, but domestic [...]
  • The world may be ready for the U.S. to be a metals exporter – but are we?

    The Indian daily Economic Times recently ran an article that discussed Alaska’s mineral riches. In that piece, the writer declared that the state may well become the “Silicon Valley” for rare earths. While there’s not much new in the article from a U.S. standpoint – the rich Bokan Mountain rare earths deposits are well-known, and state geologists [...]