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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • As Tech War Deepens Over REEs, Australia Steps Up to the Plate

    As the trade war between China and the United States deepens, concern over access to Rare Earths and other critical minerals is spreading all over the world.  While the U.S. is taking steps aimed at increasing domestic REE supplies — most recently manifesting in the Trump Administration’s invocation of the 69-year-old Defense Production Act and efforts to increase international cooperation with allies, Australia, too, is taking action.

    Reports the Straits Times:

    “Australia will step up production of rare earths and other militarily sensitive ‘tech metals’, the country’s defence minister said Monday (Aug 12), as doubts grow over the reliability of Chinese supplies.”

    According to Ms. Linda Reynolds, Australia has “at least 40 per cent of the known reserves of tech metals, whether it’s lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite but also most of the rare earths that our current technology and our lifestyles today relies on (…)” — deposits that “could safeguard supplies for allies including the United States and Britain.”  

    The possibility of Western allies obtaining metals from Australia had been discussed “at length at recent Australia-US ministerial consultations and in discussions with British counterparts,” reports the Straits Times.

    The news comes on the heels of an Australian mining company striking a deal with a German industrial company to develop Rare Earths in northern Australia after terminating a previous agreement with a Chinese firm.

    Earlier last month, a partnership between the U.S., Australia and Japan which includes the setting up of a separation facility in the United States was announced.

    The next few weeks an months will be instrumental in the “tech war” — the competition to see which country will dominate the 21st Century Technology Age. As the U.S. begins to take steps aimed at breaking free from the shackles of Chinese Rare Earths dominance, it is encouraging to see this increased level of cooperation with important strategic allies like Australia. 

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  • Greenland at the Heart of Resource Race in 21st Century Tech War

    While a deal is not likely to happen, and some question whether the comment was more quip than opening offer, President Trump’s recent interest in buying Greenland from Denmark has done one thing: bring Greenland and the Arctic into focus.   The President’s suggestion has been ridiculed by many, but from a strategic perspective — unlikely as it may be to see a “For Sale” sign planted on the Greenland coast — Greenland’s resource value is significant.

    Unbeknownst to many because outside the media limelight, the Arctic has been one of the sites of looming battles and territorial disputes in the resource war theater, with both China and Russia having stepped up their activities in (and relating to) the Arctic circle region in recent years.  The U.S. is beginning to realize the significance of the region and the need for more active engagement. 

    As Mark Rosen writes for the National Interest, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s open Challenge of Chinese and Russian Arctic intentions at the May 2019 Arctic Council Meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland “marked a dramatic rhetorical shift in the usual diplomatic line that the United States regarded the Arctic as a venue for cooperation and research and that climate change is the clear and present danger to Arctic security. Climate change unquestionably is altering the Arctic landscape and will have long term effects. However, Pompeo’s statement was a significant expansion of the warning by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the United States is ‘late to the game’ in the Arctic and needs to start making policy, security, and economic investments in the Arctic or be left on the sidelines.”

    China, with no territorial presence in the Arctic, obtained observer status to the Arctic Council in 2013, and has since included the Arctic into its “new Silk Road Strategy,”with increased diplomacy and investment in the region. China has also participated in various governance and rule-making processes for ship operation and fishing in the region outside the umbrella of the Arctic Council.  And while China’s launch of its first domestically built polar ice breaker — Snow Dragon 2 was delivered earlier last month — was framed as enabling “scientific research into polar ice coverage, environmental conditions and biological resources,” observers have pointed out that the icebreakers are also “useful in testing the feasibility of moving cargo across the Arctic,” as “China’s plans for a Polar Silk Road, as part of its ambitious multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, include developing Arctic shipping routes.

    And then there’s Russia.  As David Carlin observes for Forbes, “[m]any nations have recognized the potential of the Arctic, but few have proceeded as boldly as Russia. The Russian economy derives nearly 20% of its GDP from activities in the Arctic. Russia has defended this investment by increasing its military commitments. Old Soviet Arctic bases are being upgraded and reequipped by Russian forces.” 

    Against the backdrop of increasing tension between Russia and the West, and the United States and China, the Arctic’s strategic relevance is increasing, and Greenland — where vast veins of ores and minerals ranging from Rare Earths, Niobium, Tungsten and Antimony to Chromium, Platinum Group Metals, Graphite and Cobalt have been found (in other words, roughly one-quarter of the U.S. Critical Minerals List) — factors big into countries’ decisions to engage in the Arctic.  

    The resource race in the Arctic is a manifestation of the tech war over who will dominate the 21st Century Technology Age.   Regardless of whether or not a Greenland deal is a realistic scenario, what is important here is that U.S. stakeholders are beginning to realize the need to assertively stake the United States’ claim in the Arctic and near-Arctic environs.  The other players — those with Arctic territory, and others, like China, with Arctic interests — have made it clear that they will not wait for us.

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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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • ARPN Expert Panel Member: Congress Must Resume Push Towards Greater Independence from Foreign Sources of Oil and Key Minerals

    “Electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids are the future, but getting past our current reliance on internal combustion engines will require secure, domestic sources for a plethora of important minerals, such as rare earth metals,” writes Major General Robert H. Latiff, a retired Air Force general with a background in materials science and manufacturing technology — and [...]
  • U.S. Currently Bystander in Global Battery Arms Race, ARPN Expert Tells U.S. Senate Committee

    A key global player, the United States is not used to being a bystander. Yet this is exactly what is currently happening, says Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s Managing Director Simon Moores, addressing the full U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources this morning. Delivering his testimony on the outlook for energy and minerals market in [...]
  • U.S. Senate to Hold Hearing on Energy and Mineral Markets, Member of ARPN Expert Panel to Testify

    We’ve called it “the new black.” The Guardian even went as far as ringing in the “Ion Age.”  Bearing testimony to the growing importance of battery technology, the U.S. Senate will hold a hearing examining the outlook for energy and minerals markets in the 116th Congress on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 with an emphasis on battery [...]
  • Move Over, Lithium and Cobalt, Graphite and Graphene are About to Take Center Stage – Courtesy of the Ongoing Materials Science Revolution

    Earlier this week, we pointed to what we called the “new kid on the block” in battery tech – Vanadium.  It appears that what held true for music, is true in this industry as well – “new kids on the block” arrive in groups. Now, all puns aside – as Molly Lempriere writes for Mining-Technology.com, [...]
  • Happy Birthday, America – Onward to Resource Independence Day?

    It’s that time of the year again – we load up our shopping carts with fireworks and burger buns, and gear up for parades to honor of the men and women who have fought, and continue our safeguard our freedom today. Many of us will have already traveled this week – and according to AAA, [...]
  • “Critical Minerals Alaska” – North of 60 Mining News Publishes Series on Alaska’s Resource Potential

    Against the backdrop of an increased focus on critical minerals at the federal level, North of 60 Mining News — an Alaska-based trade publication covering mineral resource issues for Alaska, northern British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut — has started a new series of articles ARPN followers may wish to bookmark. As Lasley pointed [...]

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