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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Global Times: REE Supply Restrictions Likely for U.S. Military Equipment Firms

    The specter of China playing the “rare earths card” is looming larger this week.  

    According to the Global Times’s twitter feed, U.S. military equipment firms will likely face restrictions of Chinese Rare Earth supplies in the near future, as China’s economic planners will “study and roll out policies on rare earths as soon as possible.”    

    The Global Times is an English language newspaper published by the Communist Party of China’s publication People’s Daily.

    As followers of ARPN well know, China has a near-total supply monopoly on rare earths, which are key components of a wide range of applications ranging from household gadgets over hi-tech military equipment to renewable energy technology. 

    In recent months, trade tensions between the United States and China have deepened leading observers to sound the alarm, because the lack of domestic REE sources has created a serious strategy vulnerability vis-à-vis our adversaries, as underscored by the 2010 decision by China to cut of REE exports to Japan. 

    While some observers dismiss the looming threat of a Chinese REE supply embargo and cite a diversification of sources over the course of the past decade – including the Mountain Pass mine in California – which have reduced China’s supply monopoly to 77 percent, ARPN expert panel member and president and founder of public affairs firm J.A. Green & Company, points out via Twitter that 

    “Citing the decrease to 71% Chinese production ignores other parts of the supply chain. We should break down reliance on China for #REE metal, alloy and magnets to be a useful statistic.”

    He further cautions that “[t]o rely on ‘market forces’ to take care of the issue is dangerously naïve from a national security perspective. This is not a case of free trade, but rather Chinese market manipulation (as validated by the WTO ruling).”

    Green concludes:

    “Mountain Pass is a valuable resource, but is not a comprehensive solution. It is still reliant on the Chinese, it does not move past the concentrate phase of the supply chain, and is lacking in heavy REEs.”

    Thankfully, there are indications that our policy makers appear to awaken to the seriousness of the situation, and the just-released critical minerals strategy report by the U.S. Department of Commerce acknowledges that “If China or Russia were to stop exports to the United States and its allies for a prolonged period — similar to China’s rare earths embargo in 2010 — an extended supply disruption could cause significant shocks throughout U.S. and foreign critical mineral supply chains.”

    The strategy contains many helpful recommendations, including mine permitting reform, and coupled with pending legislation in Congress, could provide a good framework for alleviating the United States’ mineral resource supply vulnerabilities. 
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  • Resource Alert:  North of 60 Mining News Has Launched “Critical Minerals Alaska” Magazine and Dedicated Webpage

    Over the past few weeks, China’s threat to play the “rare earths card” has generated quite a buzz and, along with growing concerns over supply chains for battery tech, has directed much-needed attention to our nation’s over-reliance on foreign mineral resources. 

    As followers of ARPN know, many of these issues are in fact home-grown, as the United States is home to vast mineral resources beneath our own soil.  In fact, as North of 60 Mining News Editor Shane Lasley pointed out as part of his “Critical Minerals Alaska” feature series, several parts of which we have featured on our blog over the past few months:

    “At least 29 of the 35 critical minerals and metals identified by the U.S. Geological Survey – antimony, arsenic, barite, beryllium, bismuth, chromium, cobalt, fluorspar, gallium, germanium, graphite, hafnium, indium, magnesium, manganese, niobium, platinum group metals, rare earth elements, rhenium, rubidium, scandium, tantalum, tellurium, tin, titanium, tungsten, uranium, vanadium and zirconium – are found in Alaska.”

    Coming as great news to those looking to get up to speed on the critical mineral issues, North of 60 Mining News is now offering a handy new resource (pun intended):  The publication has combined the individual segments of Lasley’s feature series investigating “Alaska’s potential as a domestic source of minerals deemed critical to the United States,” into a magazine (available as pdf here), and has also dedicated a separate page on its website to “Critical Minerals Alaska.”

    The pdf and print version fo the magazine feature several bonus graphics, including a rundown of all the 35 metals and minerals that made the above-referenced Critical Minerals List released by the Department of the Interior in 2018. A second two-page graphic lists the individual rare earth elements – the 15 lanthanides as well as scandium and yttrium. 

    It’s going to be a hot summer on the mineral resource issue front.  If you haven’t had a chance to read Lasley’s series, be sure to bookmark the page and grab your own copy of the Critical Minerals Alaska magazine.

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  • Tesla May Get Into Mining Business, Says Elon Musk, A Visionary Rooted in the Reality of Resources

    If you looked up the definition of “visionary entrepreneur” in the dictionary, chances are you’d stumble over Elon Musk’s name.  Perhaps like no other CEO today, Tesla’s innovator-in-chief has had his finger on the pulse of time, and has arguably “revolutionized many industries.” And while he continues his “mission is to help save Earth for humanity through sustainable [...]
  • CBS’s 60 Minutes Airs Updated Rare Earths Segment Featuring ARPN’s McGroarty

    Bearing testimony to the significance of the looming specter of China playing the “rare earths card,” CBS’s 60 Minutes this weekend aired an update to its 2015 segment on rare earths featuring ARPN principal Dan McGroarty.  You can watch the segment on the CBS website, which also features a written transcript. There is hope that the [...]
  • Commerce Department Releases Long-Awaited Interagency Report on Critical Minerals

    On Tuesday, June 4, the U.S. Department of Commerce released the “interagency report that was submitted to the President pursuant to Executive Order 13817, A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.”  The report, which, according to the agency’s official announcement, “contains a government-wide action plan, including recommendations to advance research and development [...]
  • Materials Science Profiles of Progress – Penn State University Launches Center for Critical Minerals

    Against the backdrop of a growing awareness of our over-reliance on foreign mineral resources — one need to look no further than the current coverage of China’s threat to play the “rare earths card” — Penn State University is launching a Center for Critical Minerals. Under the auspices of the College of Earth and Mineral [...]
  • ARPN’s McGroarty Quoted in Daily Caller Piece on the Specter of China Playing the “Rare Earths Card”

    Reporting for the Daily Caller, Michael Bastasch zeroes in on what has once again become a hot button issue – Rare Earth Elements (REEs) in the context of trade relations, as reported Chinese threats to “escalate its trade dispute with the Trump administration to include rare earth minerals has, once again, shined a spotlight on U.S. [...]
  • ARPN Expert Panel Member in The Hill: U.S. Must Stop Shunning the Importance of Its Mineral Wealth

    In a new piece for The Hill, ARPN expert panel member and author of the recently-released “Groundbreaking! America’s New Quest for Mineral Independence” Ned Mamula laments the United States’ long-standing ignorance and even shunning of “the importance of its mineral wealth.”  In spite of the fact that, as he says, mining is “the one economic sector that meets the [...]
  • DoI Grants Hardrock Mineral Lease Renewals in Superior National Forest in Minnesota

    As the global race for mineral resources heats up, the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management renewed two hardrock mineral leases in the Superior National Forest in Minnesota, opening the area up to copper mining. The leases granted to Twin Metals Minnesota LLC over heavy opposition from environmentalist groups, were first issued in 1966 [...]
  • ARPN’s McGroarty for The Hill: Strength through Peace – Dropping Sec. 232 Tariffs on Aluminum and Steel Could Strengthen U.S. Position vis-a-vis China

    In a new piece for The Hill, ARPN’s Dan McGroarty zeroes in on the inter-relationship of trade and resource policy, which has been an increasingly recurring theme over the past few months. McGroarty argues that the removal of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum coming from Mexico and Canada, which have been a “dead weight on [...]

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