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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • U.S.-Canadian Critical Minerals Collaboration Moves Into Next Round

    It’s official.

    On January 9, 2020, the governments of the United States and Canada formally announced the finalization of the Canada-U.S. Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration to advance “our mutual interest in securing supply chains for the critical minerals needed for important manufacturing sectors, including communication technology, aerospace and defence, and clean technology.”

    During their meeting in June 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had resolved to collaborate to “ensure reliable supplies of rare earths and critical minerals.” The subsequently-created U.S.-Canada Critical Minerals Working Group tasked with developing the joint action plan had its first meeting in October, and finalized its work in December. 

    According to the official news release issued by the Canadian government, 

    “[t]he Action Plan will guide cooperation in areas such as industry engagement; efforts to secure critical minerals supply chains for strategic industries and defence; improving information sharing on mineral resources and potential; and cooperation in multilateral fora and with other countries. This Action Plan will promote joint initiatives, including research and development cooperation, supply chain modelling and increased support for industry.

    Experts from both countries will convene in the coming weeks to advance joint initiatives to address shared mineral security concerns — helping ensure the continued economic growth and national security of both Canada and the U.S.”

    The announcement ties into the overall context of the U.S. making strides towards embracing an “all-of-the-above” approach we’ve come to know from the energy policy discourse – in the context of working toward “resource independence,” a focus on new mining, recycling and reclamation of new minerals from old mine tailings and close partnerships with allies.  It could not come at a better point in time, because in spite of an ever-deepening partisan divide on many issues in Washington, D.C., the momentum for resource policy reform appears to be growing on both sides of the political aisle as recent official Congressional proceedings have shown.

    Our long-standing over-reliance on mineral resource supplies from countries like China has — often unnecessarily — given our adversaries significant leverage over our national security.  

    In 2020, we expect policy stakeholders to continue to advance international critical minerals collaboration as part of an overall push to reduce this leverage, and we’ll be keeping tabs on these efforts on our blog. 

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  • India and the Tech Wars: Ripple Effects of the Confrontation over Who Will Dominate the 21st Century Tech Age

    While most of the headlines regarding the trade war between the United States and China — and, for ARPN followers, the underlying tech war over who which country will dominate the 21st Century Technology Age — focus on the main players in Washington, DC and Beijing, the ripple effects of this confrontation can be felt all over the world. 

    Case in point:  India, which although rich in mineral resources, relies to a significant extent on Chinese imports to meet domestic needs.  As the New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) recently outlined, India is one of the few countries that is home to vast REE reserves, but is ranked low in the REE market and considered more of a “low-cost supplier of raw materials.”

    The fact that most of REES consumed in India are imported from China, deprives the country of an “opportunity to earn substantial revenues as a supplier of hi-tech equipment like neodymium magnets” – particularly because the country is lacking a downstream sector, i.e. the manufacturing of intermediate products. “[i]nterestingly Japan currently imports dysprosium from India, using it to manufacture advanced neodymium magnets which are of high value, and today controls a sizeable portion of the global neodymium magnets market.”

    Realizing the urgency of the situation, the Indian government, albeit late to the race, has taken first steps to strengthen its critical minerals outlook, and earlier this summer released a new National Mineral Policy aimed at increasing the production of major minerals by 200 percent in 7 years. 

    Home to about 6.9 million metric tons of REEs – which amounts to roughly one-fifth of global reserves — companies have begun exploring REE opportunities domestically.

    More must be done, however, says IDSA: 

    “While a beginning has been made with the announcement of a National Mineral Policy 2019, covering non-fuel and non-coal minerals, India must strive to acquire expertise in valorising these minerals and shift to developing its downstream sector.”

     As co-founder of Technology Metals Research Jack Lifton suggested earlier this year, India could well become an alternative supplier of REEs to the world as it “has large reserves of monazite and is unexplored for other rare-earth minerals. (…) What’s missing is a domestic downstream processing supply chain. If this is constructed, India will become a major producer.” 

    “To that end,” concludes the IDSA analysis,  “India should seek to leverage its ties with Japan and other countries that have the requisite technology for manufacturing downstream equipment so that it can set itself up as an alternative source of the REE-based technology, with its own supply chain of minerals and metals required for the same, instead of being content with being a mere supplier of upstream materials.”

    As the U.S. continues to forge partnership agreements with allied nations such as Australia and Canada to secure its critical mineral supply chains, expect other nations like India to do the same.  The scramble for the world’s mineral resources has only just begun.  

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  • Canada and U.S. to Draft “Joint Action Plan” on Rare Earths / Critical Minerals

    After years of missed opportunities to prioritize mineral resource policy, the U.S. government is stepping up its efforts to secure critical mineral resource supply chains.   The latest case in point is the drafting of a “joint action plan” with our neighbors to the North to reduce reliance on Chinese supplies of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) — which, [...]
  • ARPN’s McGroarty: Trade War Between U.S. And China One Front in Larger Tech War for Dominance of 21st Century Technology Age

    “The specter of using rare earths as an economic weapon makes clear that the current trade war between the U.S. and China is in fact one front in a larger tech war – a competition to see which country will dominate the 21st Century Technology Age,” says ARPN principal Dan McGroarty in a new piece [...]
  • Metals in the Spotlight – Aluminum and the Intersection between Resource Policy and Trade

    While specialty and tech metals like the Rare Earths and Lithium continue to dominate the news cycles, there is a mainstay metal that has – for good reason – been making headlines as well: Aluminum.  Bloomberg recently even argued that “Aluminum Is the Market to Watch Closely in 2019.”  Included in the 2018 list of 35 [...]
  • Trade Patterns May Stay, but Manufacturers and Consumers to Bear the Brunt of Current Tensions Over Aluminum and Steel

    A recent Bloomberg story we featured last week put a face on the specter of trade war over aluminum and steel, and retraced the history of this symbiotic U.S.- Canadian trade relationship and what our very own Dan McGroarty has called the “world’s most integrated defense industrial base.”   Digging a little deeper, a new Wall [...]
  • Arvida, Quebec – Putting a Face on the Specter of Trade War Over Aluminum and Steel

    Last month, our very own Dan McGroarty argued in a piece for Investor’s Business Daily that the escalation of the trade war over U.S.-imposed trade tariffs on Canadian made aluminum and steel has serious implications not only for our economy, but also for the U.S. defense industrial base.  In it, he outlined the genesis of [...]
  • McGroarty for IBD: “Subjecting U.S. Aluminum Access to Trade Tensions with Canada National Security Crisis Waiting to Happen”

    Against the backdrop of the recent escalation of the U.S.-Canada trade war, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty argues in a new piece for Investor’s Business Daily that while “the focus has been on U.S.-imposed trade tariffs on Canadian-made aluminum and steel, and their economic impact,” the “damage the tariffs may do to the U.S. defense industrial base” [...]
  • Through the Gateway: “Fairy Dust” Supply Woes Loom

    As we continue our look Through the Gateway, comes a stern reminder by way of Canada that the geopolitics of resource supply represents a complex issue warranting comprehensive policy approaches.   And it literally concerns a metal that touches us — more precisely, we touch it — every day, too many times to count. A decision to [...]
  • Through the Gateway: Aluminum – Fueling the Renaissance of American Manufacturing

    Aluminum is not only one of the most sustainable materials these days, it is also making headlines – most recently during the North American Leaders Summit, also dubbed “Three Amigos Summit” held at the end of June in Ottawa, Canada.  Invoking challenges associated with China’s trade policy, President Obama called for the North American countries to [...]

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