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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • 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 Street Journal piece takes us further into a “tightly woven production chain” which “illustrates the U.S. dependence on aluminum from Canada” and outlines the ramifications of current trade tensions between both countries for manufacturers and consumers.

    The use of hydroelectric power in Quebec, Canada, allows for the cost-efficient operation of energy-intensive aluminum smelters, which in recent decades has led to Canada becoming the key producer of the metal for the United States.

    Writes Kim Mackrael:

    “The U.S. produces just 13% of the 5.6 million metric tons of raw aluminum it uses each year.

    U.S. aluminum smelters are among the costliest and oldest in the world — above $2,000 per metric ton and 47 years on average, according to market consultant Harbor Aluminum in Texas. Canada’s smelters, aged an average 26 years, make the metal for about $1,500 a ton.”

    Citing Eric Krepps, who runs runs the North American automotive business at Constellium NV, a Dutch aluminum company, who argues that there is not enough domestic aluminum production in the U.S., and that “[w]e could not source everything out of the U.S. even if we wanted to,” Mackrael reports that:

    “Instead, the 10% tariffs are already adding costs right down the supply chain — directly through the duty paid at the border and indirectly though higher aluminum prices, delays and added bureaucracy, manufacturers say. Tariffs have contributed to a doubling in the premium paid for North American aluminum since January.

    Analysts and some car companies say the higher aluminum prices will likely be passed on to American car-buyers rather than absorbed entirely by companies.”

    Read more here – and to read more about the security implications of the escalating U.S.-Canada trade tensions over aluminum and steel tariffs, read Dan McGroarty’s recent piece for Investor’s Business Daily, entitled “The U.S.-Canada Trade War’s Collateral Damage: The U.S. Defense Industrial Base.”

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  • 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 the United States’ special relationship with our neighbors to the North with whom we share “the world’s most integrated defense industrial base.”

    Via a recent Bloomberg story, we are getting a glimpse into what this U.S.- Canadian “symbiosis” looks like.  Danielle Bochove reports from Arvida, Quebec, home to a giant smelter built by Americans that supplied most of the Allied forces’ aluminum in World War II.  Today, as part of the “2.5 million metric tons that Canada sends over the border each year,” the very same smelter provides U.S. beer makers with metal used in their cans, U.S. automakers with the metal used in their cars, and the U.S. military with the metal used in its weaponry.

    Writes Bochove:

    “The Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region is part of a cross-border ecosystem that supplies almost half of the aluminum used in the U.S., including the metal found in three out of four American cars. Arvida is the epicenter. Built in 1926 by Alcoa President Arthur Vining Davis, the town is an acronym of the American industrialist’s name. One of the earliest examples of a company town, Arvida has been absorbed into the city of Saguenay, but its main street remains vibrant and the original architecture largely intact.”

    Retracing the history of the smelter which has supplied thousands local jobs over course of the last century, during which it was hit by the Depression, “reborn” during World War II and saw ebbing and flowing concurrent with global market developments as well as the 2007 takeover by Rio Tinto, Bochove says the industry’s influence can be seen and felt everywhere:

    “From 1926 to 1960, only Alcan employees were eligible to serve as city counselors in Arvida, said Bruno Fradette, an amateur historian and third-generation employee. In a tour of the town, he pointed out examples of its American heritage. Buildings and roads are named after American founders, and the main street is lined with posters celebrating its aluminum history.

    When Rio [Tinto, ] took over, local sentiment swung from pride in ownership to pride over the asset’s environmental sustainability, Mayor Neron said. Aluminum has long provided high-quality jobs in Saguenay, but initiatives—including a recent push with Apple Inc. to make the metal without greenhouse gases—have the potential to further increase quality. Residents already refer to the region’s product as ‘green aluminum,’ she said, because processing is powered by Quebec’s abundant hydroelectricity.”

    In response to the U.S.-imposed tariffs, Canada imposed retaliatory tariffs on US exports worth 16.6 billion Canadian dollars ($12.5 billion).  While industry experts like Rio Tinto’s head of aluminum Alf Barrios believe that U.S. manufacturers ultimately have no choice but to buy from Canada, Arvida’s mayor is concerned about what the escalation of the trade war means for the region and its people.

    Writes Bochove:

    “For the mayor, the mushrooming trade tensions are depressingly familiar. Saguenay’s other original economic base, pulp and paper, has been devastated by decades of U.S. protectionism around softwood lumber. Neron’s fear is that aluminum will follow.”

    To read the full piece, click here.

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  • 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 [...]
  • McGroarty/Reaugh: Time to Do Away with Uptick Rule to Unleash Canada’s Resource Sector

    The new year typically is the time for people to reflect on the preceding twelve months and make resolutions for the new year.  In an exclusive to the Vancouver Sun, our very own Daniel McGroarty, who serves on the advisory board of mining company American Manganese, joins ARPN expert and CEO of American Manganese, in reviewing 2015 as [...]
  • Strategic mineral issues debated in Toronto

    Early this week, strategic mineral experts gathered in Toronto, Canada, for the second annual Technology Metals Summit hosted by our friends at ProEdgeWire. We were honored that our very own Daniel McGroarty and several other American Resources experts were included in the impressive lineup of distinguished speakers. According to ProEdgeWire publisher Tracy Weslosky, the conference [...]
  • Fraser Institute to host third Mining Business Risks Summit in November

    The Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think tank and the intellectual home for three of our policy experts, has teamed up with CRU Group, the leading independent business analysis and consultancy group focused on metals and mining, again to host their third Mining Business Risks Summit, to be held in Toronto, Canada, 1-2 November [...]
  • U.S. Department of Defense Studies Alaska’s Rare Earths Potential

    As the Canadian daily Chronicle Herald reports, the U.S. Department of Defense is conducting a study of Canadian mining company Ucore’s rare earth-rich Bokan Mountain property in southeast Alaska. Under the auspices of the Defense Logistics Agency, the study will “focus on the possible development of Bokan Mountain to meet defence department requirements for an [...]
  • Fraser Institute Scholar joins American Resources Expert Panel

    We’re thrilled to announce that Alana Wilson, a senior research analyst with the Canada-based Fraser’s Institute’s Global Centre for Mining Studies, has joined the American Resources panel of issue experts. Ms. Wilson is spearheading the Institute’s most recent project, a website called MiningFacts.org, which offers timely research and articles examining the often-misunderstood “economic, environmental, and [...]

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