American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Back to Basics – The “What?,” “Why?” And “Why Now?” On Mineral Resource Policy Reform

    China, trade, rare earths, EV battery technology, greening our energy future, resource dependence … there are lots of buzzwords these days surrounding mineral resource policy. And while there is a lot more interest in critical mineral issues these days – for good reason – there is also a lot of misinformation out there.

    In a new piece for Town Hall, ARPN expert panel member and geologist Ned Mamula, in cooperation with Paul Driessen, senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, goes back to the basics and zeroes in on the “what?”, “why?” and “why now?” questions surrounding our nation’s  critical minerals woes.

    Mamula and Driessen walk through the reasons and ramifications of our over-reliance on foreign mineral resources and discuss options and impediments for reform. Their bottom line:

    “America needs incentives, streamlined permitting and tax certainty to explore for and mine our abundant critical mineral endowment, to benefit our high-tech economy, national defense, employment and living standards. Congress must help in this effort – not create new roadblocks. 

    It is time to recognize that environmental responsibility is woven into the fabric of today’s laws, regulations and minerals industry. There is no legitimate reason for draconian Mining Law reformation, especially if those changes would ensure that we import more critical minerals from Congo and China.”

    Click here to read the full piece.

  • Mamula and Bridges: Hardrock “Modernization” Bills Could Do More Harm Than Good

    “Does America stand for self-reliance and innovative discovery of critical minerals for our economy and national defense and security? Or will Congress drive the fatal stake through the heart of our struggling domestic metals mining industry?”

    According to a new Washington Examiner piece by Cato Institute Adjunct Scholar in Geosciences and ARPN expert panel member Ned Mamula and author Ann Bridges, we will soon find out. 

    The authors of “Groundbreaking! America’s New Quest for Mineral Resource Independence” argue that two pieces of proposed mining-related legislation – touted as “modernizations, overhauls or replacements of the Mining Law of 1872” – would do more harm than good. 

    Write Mamula and Bridges:

    “At first blush, overhauling the Mining Law sounds appealing and overdue. But H.R.2579 seeks to boost royalties to 12.5% on new mining operations and 8% on existing mines for the “privilege” of extracting America’s public lands mineral wealth that is so vital to our nation’s defense, computing, communication, transportation, medical, renewable energy and battery technologies.

    Under current mining law, hardrock (metal) producers already pay hundreds of millions of dollars annually in the form of private state royalties, and a variety of federal and state taxes on claim fees, mining activities, products and payroll, plus an existing 2% royalty fee on minerals extracted from Federal lands based on current market value of minerals delivered to a smelter.

    To better place America on a path to mineral independence, we should be reducing the overall costs of mining, not adding to them.”

    Mamula and Bridges lament that the bills under consideration “appear to dissuade new domestic exploration and production, including the all-important critical minerals and ‘green’ technology metals,” and that proposed fee increases “could well bankrupt existing miners operating on razor-thin margins.”

    Already facing competition from massive Chinese and Russian state-owned companies — many of which may not be up to par when it comes to social and environmental standards — and politically-motivated market distortions, U.S. companies would suffer if the above-referenced bills were to move forward, say Mamula and Bridges. They conclude:

    “In order to put our country on a course to achieve mineral independence, we should not penalize our mining entrepreneurs. Instead, we should incentivize them by reducing the overall costs of mining, enabling them to compete globally. We should also bring production home, by providing increased access to federal mineral lands.

    Both bills would take America’s national interest in the wrong direction, even as China’s overt posturing of its rare earth monopoly bolsters its leverage against the U.S. negotiating position, which is weakened by a lack of any long-term strategic plan for domestic mining and critical minerals production.

    To remain strong, our nation needs a dependable supply chain of critical minerals and metals that will only come from a durable Mining Law. The overhauls proposed in the two congressional bills would have crippling consequences that would reverberate through every sector of our economy and undermine our national security.

    If passed, these bills would gut the entrepreneurial spirit of the Mining Law by imposing stricter anti-mining regulations, repressive royalties, and impossibly short lifetimes for mining claims. These changes would spell the beginning of the end for domestic hardrock exploration and mining and put thousands out of work. Worse, they would increase our already dangerous dependence on foreign sources for critical minerals.”

    Click here for the full piece.

    And for more context, see Ann Bridges’s piece – co-authored with Paul Driessen – entitled “Americans Declare Freedom, Not Fights,” in which they call for a “Declaration of Mineral Independence.”

  • Happy 4th of July! The Road to Resource Independence

    Another trip around the sun, and once again we find ourselves stocking up for barbecues, fireworks and parades in honor of the men and women who have fought on our behalf, and continue our safeguard our freedom today. We’ve always used the occasion of Independence Day to remind ourselves that “while we cherish the freedom we [...]
  • Measuring Criticality in Today’s Interconnected World

    Against the backdrop of the current U.S.-Chinese tensions over Rare Earth Elements and the “global battery arms race,” Morgan D. Bazilian, Professor of Public Policy and Executive Director of the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines, argues that the United States must “widen its consideration of critical materials past a limited understanding of security in [...]
  • U.S. to Cooperate with Canada and Australia To Encourage Responsible Resource Development for New Energy Technology

    Amidst growing concerns over the availability of metals and minerals underpinning the EV revolution, the United States, Canada and Australia have joined forces to encourage the responsible development of said materials. As the Financial Times reported earlier last week, the US state department and its Canadian and Australian counterparts “will work to help countries discover and [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Trade Tensions Underscore Need for Mineral Resource Policy Reform

    While 2018 brought the inter-relationship between trade and resource policy to the forefront, this trend is continuing in 2019.   Last week, the White House announced sanctions on Iranian metals, which represent the Tehran regime’s biggest source of export revenue aside from petroleum.  The sanctions on Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum and copper sectors represent the [...]
  • Lawmakers Introduce New Legislation Aimed at Changing United States’ “Bystander” Status in Race for Critical Minerals

    As pressures mount for the United States to bolster its position as a non-fuel mineral raw materials producer amidst the ongoing battery tech revolution, a group of U.S. Senators have introduced legislation to boost domestic production of critical minerals. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and [...]
  • U.S. To Pursue National Electric Vehicle Supply Chain

    ARPN expert panel member and managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Simon Moores must have struck a nerve when he called the U.S. a “bystander” in the current battery arms race during a recent Congressional hearing. His message  —  “Those who control these critical raw materials and those who possess the manufacturing and processing know how, will [...]