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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • 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 hold the balance of industrial power in the 21st century auto and energy storage industries” — must have resonated with stakeholders.

    As Reuters reported over the weekend, U.S. government officials, including select members of Congress, representatives from the U.S. Department of State, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior, as well as the U.S. Geological Survey are looking to sit down with executives from automakers and lithium miners early next month “as part of a first-of-its-kind effort to launch a national electric vehicle supply chain strategy.”

    Sources familiar with the effort told Reuters that Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chair of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources committee, will look to introduce “standalone legislation aimed at streamlining the permitting process for lithium and other mines,”and addressing other critical minerals issues, parts of which were included in previous broader energy legislation in prior Congresses but failed to garner consent in both chambers at the time. 

    With China already dominating the EV supply chain, the stakes are high.  As Senator John Hoeven (R, North Dakota), told Reuters, the U.S. “need[s] to find ways to more efficiently develop our nation’s domestic critical mineral supply because these resources are vital to both our national security and our economy.” 

    While underscoring the complexity of the situation, industry representatives see a great opportunity for the United States to enact policy changes that could “encourage development of a domestic supply chain to mine, process and supply lithium, nickel, cobalt and graphite for battery manufacturers and automakers,”— changes that, in the eyes of one mining executive provide “the perfect blueprint to make America great again.”

    According to Reuters, the May meetings will include both workshops on financing and permitting issues, and one-on-one meetings between regulators and industry executives. 

    This is encouraging news, which will hopefully be complemented by a renewed push to develop a broader critical minerals strategy, as outlined the 2017 presidential executive order on critical minerals.

    The rest of the world will not wait for us, so the time to get off the starting block is now. 

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  • 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 member of the ARPN panel of issue experts — in a new piece for Real Clear Energy

    The Pentagon’s current steps to embrace the electrification of vehicles would not only result in a reduction in fuel consumption, it would also alleviate logistical challenges associated with transporting gasoline and other fuels to U.S. troops in the field. “At the strategic level, reduced fossil fuel demand will translate into a reduced demand for deployed U.S. forces to protect vital oil supplies and shipping capabilities,” Latiff argues.

    However, he cautions that 

    “domestic electric vehicle production and other green technologies depend on foreign sources of supply for critical minerals such as manganese, lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite, aluminum, copper, and various rare earth elements. For some of these, the U.S. is 100% import-reliant.

    Unfortunately, global production for many of the minerals on which the U.S. is reliant, is controlled by competitor countries, like China and Russia, or is located within unstable countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

    As followers of ARPN know, much of the issue is home-grown, as the U.S. is home to scores of mineral resources the development of which would mitigate supply concerns, but “accessing such abundant reserves is a bureaucratic permitting process which adds cost and uncertainty to a mine project, often with marginal environmental or safety value.”

    Latiff adds: 

    “Our burdensome permitting process significantly reduces the value of U.S. mines. A mining project generally loses more than a third of its value due bureaucratic delays of the federal permitting process. The regulatory red tape has the effect of making new mining projects, even for critical, sought-after minerals, financially unviable. Environmental concerns are of obvious importance. But increasing domestic minerals production and upholding our environmental safeguards are not mutually exclusive”

     – an opinion that is shared by ARPN expert panel member Ned Mamula, who recently argued that advances in technology harnessed by the modern mining industry make it possible to restore a balance between mining and environmental protection, and that the 1980 Minerals Policy Act already provided a statutory mandate to responsibly develop the minerals for domestic consumption from U.S. mines.

    While there have been some steps towards reforming U.S. mineral resource policy, momentum appears to have stalled in recent months. As Latiff concludes:

    “Independence from foreign sources of oil and key minerals is critical to U.S. competitiveness and to national security. It is imperative that Congressional leaders take up these issues again.”

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  • 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 [...]
  • Materials Science Profiles of Progress: CMI Expands Collaborative Research Focus to Include Lithium and Cobalt

    The Critical Materials Institute (CMI), a Department of Energy research hub under the auspices of Ames Laboratory, is expanding its research on tech metals “as rapid growth in electric vehicles drives demand for lithium, cobalt.” According to a recent Ames Lab press release, the Institute will focus on maximizing the efficiency of processing, usage and [...]
  • Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s World Tour Returns to U.S. this May

    Our friends from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence – formidable experts when it comes to battery tech and the mineral resources driving it – are returning to the U.S. in May for another round of their World Tour. This year’s tour will “focus on the supply chains for the next generation of battery technologies,” and seek to [...]
  • Sweden Tosses Hat Into Ring In Race For Materials Underpinning EV Revolution

    As the race for the metals and minerals driving the electric vehicle revolution heats up, and China continues to jockey for pole position, Sweden is tossing its hat into the ring.  According to recent media reports, the Swedish government has earmarked 10 million kronor ( roughly one million Euros) to explore the option of digging [...]
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