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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • U.S. Senator and AK Governor for The Hill: With China Having Taken Control of Critical Mineral Supply Chains, We Need to Act Now

    Beijing’s threat to withhold potentially life-saving medical supplies and medications in the middle of a global pandemic, during which China has “taken control of [respective] supply chains around the world as part of its quest for global domination,” were a wake up call, write U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R-AK) in an op-ed for The Hill. Medical supplies and medications, however, they say, “aren’t the only products the Chinese control that the United States depends on.” With China having effectively consolidated the global supply chain for critical minerals, including rare earth elements, we are now faced with the gargantuan task of “jumpstarting an industry that barely exists.”

    Thankfully, as Sen. Cruz and Gov. Dunleavy point out, the Trump administration began taking steps towards prioritizing critical mineral resource policy and re-shoring these supply chains in 2017, and has stepped up its efforts once more with the signing of a new presidential executive order declaring a critical minerals national emergency at the end of September of this year.

    The task, as the authors point out, is “exponentially more difficult” than keeping existing supply chains in the United States, because China recognized the importance of critical minerals for high-tech economies well before other global players, and has been jockeying for the global pole position in the space ever since. Write Cruz and Dunleavy:

    “Bringing the supply chain to the United States requires granular knowledge of the industry, because investors are sitting on the sidelines of the critical minerals industry for different reasons than they’re sitting on the sidelines of the pharmaceutical industry. To fix this, we have to convince investors to get into a market where they are justifiably afraid China will undermine them at every point of the supply chain.”

    They point to Sen. Ted Cruz’s ORE Act and Gov. Dunleavy’s executive action to provide financing for REE mining projects in Alaska as examples of market-based incentives which, coupled with regulatory reform can jump-start the much-needed buildout of our nation’s crucial mineral supply chains.

    The ORE ACT provides tax incentives for buying American mined rare earths and battery minerals and metals; strengthens requirements for the Pentagon to source these critical mined materials from the U.S.; and establishes grants for pilot programs to develop these materials in the U.S.”

    Sen. Cruz and Gov. Dunleavy insist that “the entire country has a role to play” in the effort to build out a comprehensive domestic critical minerals supply chain – “from the reclamation of mines and reprocessing of mine waste rock in Appalachia, to mines in Texas, Alaska, California and Wyoming. In Alaska alone, 30 of the 35 critical minerals identified by President Trump are available for extraction, as well as tremendous amounts of commercial-grade graphite, lead, zinc and copper.”

    Efforts like the ORE Act are gaining traction in Congress, and Alaska – rich in metals and minerals (with 30 of the 35 deemed critical by the Department of the Interior in 2018 available for extraction) — is assuming a leadership role at the state level.

    We don’t have a moment to waste. As Sen. Cruz and Gov. Dunleavy argue:

    “At any time, China could cut off our access to rare earth elements and critical minerals. We need to act now to establish a critical mineral supply chain in the United States, and to make sure we can manufacture defense technologies and support our military. Our national security depends on it.”

    Click here to read the full op-ed.

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  • EPA Withdrawal of Preemptive Veto of Alaska Strategic Mineral Mining Project Positive Development for Due Process

    Amidst a recent uptick in government actions aimed at increasing domestic mineral resource development, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this month withdrew its preemptive proposed determination to restrict use of one of the largest domestic deposits of key strategic mineral resources (Copper, Molybdenum, Gold, Silver and Rhenium) in Southwestern Alaska. 

    As followers of ARPN may recall, the agency’s 2014 decision represented an unprecedented early action to derail the development of the so-called Pebble Deposit.  In spite of the fact that no permit application or specific plans had been submitted, the agency released a cursory review of the Bristol Bay Watershed in Alaska which sounded the alarm on the possible impact of hypothetical mining – even though previous EPA assertions of such preemptive power had been rebuffed in federal court.

    The EPA’s decision to preemptively veto the project before any application had been filed represented a unilateral expansion of EPA powers under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act.

    According to the EPA press release, “the agency can continue its focus on fulfilling its responsibilities under the Clean Water Act to work with the Army Corps to review the permit.”

    The release goes on to say:

    “Today’s action does not approve Pebble’s permit application or determine a particular outcome in the Corps’ permitting process. Instead, it allows EPA to continue working with the Corps to review the current permit application and engage in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.”

    As ARPN’s principal Dan McGroarty stated last year

    “With the growing recognition that the U.S. is dangerously dependent on foreign supply for scores of critical minerals and metals, the need for a predictable permitting process has never been greater. The pre-emptive veto of the Pebble Project casts a chilling effect over resource development in the U.S.  […]to allow a pre-emptive veto to stand is ‘contrary to the spirit of our environmental protection laws, to due process, and to basic fairness.”  

    Thus, seeing the preemptive determination revoked is a positive development that will allow due process and a rigorous review to take its course. 

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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 [...]
  • The “Indispensable Twins” of Critical Minerals – Niobium and Tantalum

    In the latest installment of his “Critical Minerals Alaska” series for North of 60 Mining News, Shane Lasley zeroes in on what USGS has dubbed the “indispensable twins” – Niobium and Tantalum. Both share “nearly indistinguishable physical and chemical properties” and are “critical to the defense, energy and high-tech sectors.”  Meanwhile, neither Niobium nor Tantalum are mined in the United States, so their inclusion [...]
  • Critical Minerals Alaska – Rhenium Riches in Alaska Could Help Alleviate Supply Issues

    The BBC has dubbed Rhenium — another metal included in the Department of the Interior’s Final List of 35 Minerals Deemed Critical to U.S. National Security and the Economy — a “super element” with standout properties that can be likened to “alien technology.” Thus, it comes as no surprise that Shane Lasley, writing for North of 60 Mining [...]
  • Beyond Golf Clubs and Aircraft – “Critical Minerals Alaska” Zeroes in on Titanium 

    In the latest installment of his “Critical Minerals Alaska” series for North of Sixty Mining News, Shane Lasley zeroes in on Titanium – an “abundant element that has become an important industrial commodity only within the past 150 years,” according to USGS. As Lasley writes, “Titanium conjures images of the durable and lightweight metal used to build aircraft, replacement hips, [...]
  • A Non-Flashy Yet Essential Critical Mineral – Barite   

    If you haven’t had of Barite, you’re excused – even for avid followers of ARPN Barite is not among the first that come to mind of when you think of critical minerals. It has, however, attained that status with its inclusion in the Department of Interior’s list of 35 metals and minerals considered critical to [...]
  • “Critical Minerals Alaska:” A Familiar Scenario for Tungsten – Chinese Domination and U.S. Prospects

    Pop quiz: Which metal has “the highest melting point of all the elements on the periodic table, (…) is a vital ingredient to a wide-range of industrial and military applications,” has made the Department of Interior’s final list of 35 metals deemed critical to U.S. national security, “yet none of this durable metal is currently [...]
  • “Critical Minerals Alaska” – Rising Demand and Supply Side Complications Combine as Catalysts to Establish Domestic Sources of Cobalt

    In his latest installment of “Critical Minerals Alaska” – a feature series for North of 60 Mining News that “investigates Alaska’s potential as a domestic source of minerals deemed critical to the United States,” Shane Lasley takes a closer look at Cobalt, one of the key metals underpinning the current EV technology revolution. Once an [...]
  • Coalition of Congressional Members and Stakeholders Call on EPA to Reverse Pre-emptive Veto and Restore Due Process to U.S. Mine Permitting  

    Earlier this month, the Congressional Western Caucus led a coalition of Members of Congress and Stakeholders to call on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to reverse a pre-emptive veto of the Pebble Mine project in Alaska. The veto stopped the project before it had formally applied to begin the permitting process — a unilateral expansion of [...]

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