American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Expert View: Resource Nationalism and Quebec’s Plan Nord

    In a new opinion piece for the Montreal Gazette, American Resources policy expert and associate director of the Fraser Institute’s Global Natural Resource Policy Centre Jean Francois Minardi discusses the issue of resource nationalism in the context of Quebec’s Plan Nord – the Canadian province’s plan to develop its northern reaches in both strategic and sustainable ways.

    Minardi’s key points are as follows:

    · A commodity “super-cycle” – induced by soaring commodity demand in China and other emerging nations – has raised the specter of resource nationalism as governments seek to increase their share the windfall generated by increased non-oil commodity prices.

    · With the 25-year Plan Nord being based on the assumption that metal prices and revenues will continue to rise, the Liberal government and the Parti Québécois are heeding mining activists’ calls and are, among other things, seeking higher royalties and are looking to slap a tax on “excess profits.”

    · In light of the risky nature of mining investments, they have usually been made by the private sector. Consequently, the government’s sought-after direct equity investments in strategic mining projects are not in the best interest of Quebecers, particularly should prices fall.

    · With the current mining “super-cycle” being based almost entirely on Chinese demand, and China’s economy entering a transitional phase, that super-cycle may end.

    He concludes:

    Metals are not an inexhaustible source of income. Quebecers should realize that metals are not like oil; their prices are not set by a cartel but reflect global supply and demand. Non-oil commodity prices have traditionally fluctuated greatly and, even if the recent super-cycle has been unusual, the old normal may eventually return.

    In this context of high uncertainty, demands to increase the government of Quebec’s slice of the profit pie may prove to be dangerous policy for the future of the province’s mining industry.

  • Resource Wars: EU zeros in on Arctic mineral riches

    While many of us in the continental U.S. are enjoying record-breaking temperatures this March, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton probably needed her down coat as she embarked on her new mission: laying the groundwork for a common EU policy on the Arctic. Traveling near the North Pole earlier this month, Ashton made a case for the EU to receive permanent observer status on the Arctic Council, current members of which are Canada, Russia, Denmark (through Greenland), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the U.S.

    The EU’s increased interest in the region is hardly surprising considering the fact that the region is known to hold vast mineral resources, among them an estimated 13 percent of the worlds undiscovered oil reserves, and 30 percent of undiscovered gas reserves.

    As the global race for resources has heated up, so has the geopolitical tussle over the Arctic’s mineral riches:

    - In 2004, Denmark extended a bid on its geological claim linking the North Pole and Greenland via the Lomonosov Ridge.

    - The summer of 2007 saw a number of movements, including a Russian minisub expedition planting a Russian flag beneath the North Pole, and Canada announcing plans to build two new Arctic military bases and a deep-sea port in the region.

    - While Russia and Norway signed a deal over who owns what in the Barents Sea, a piece in the Guardian from July 2011 outlined ongoing territorial tussles between the U.S, Canada, Russia, Denmark and Norway.

    - The Toronto Star warned in December 2011 that Russia may be ready to embrace “a new Cold War” over the Arctic, which it sees as its strategic future.

    - In January of 2012, the Arctic race for mineral riches got a new dimension when China threw its hat into the ring, with Denmark having decided to serve as “the key gateway for Beijing’s commercial and strategic entrée into the Arctic.”

    Today, Alaska’s state motto “North to the Future” sounds more timely than ever. Fortunate to have a claim to the Arctic’s riches via “Seward’s Folly”, the U.S. would be well-advised to harness Alaska’s significant resource potential, as envisioned by Gov. Sean Parnell – boosting job creation and reducing our needless over-reliance on foreign mineral resources in the process.

  • Proposed Canadian federal budget emphasizes need to expedite resource development

    Contrasting sharply with the current U.S. domestic mineral policy environment, Canada’s federal budget to be released by the Harper Administration next week will reflect its stated commitment to removing barriers to investment and resource development. Specific legislative language has yet to be introduced; however, according to the Canada Free Press, the budget outline will emphasize [...]
  • Silver fundamentals strong, may outperform gold

    It looks like we at American Resources are not the only ones noticing the increased appeal of silver – our “Metal of the Month” for March. The Gold Report interviewed several executives from the sector in a virtual roundtable for its latest issue. Here are the key points: The fundamentals behind silver are strong.   [...]
  • Canada remains worldwide leader of non-fuel exploration

    Canada is the leading country for mineral exploration for the 10th year in
 a row, according to the latest rankings from 
Metals Economics Group’s (MEG) Corporate 
Exploration Strategies. The country
 represents 18 percent of worldwide investments into non-fuel mineral
 exploration. Here are some interesting figures on Canada from the MEG Corporate 
Exploration Strategies study, which Commodities Now says 
includes [...]
  • Indaba, Warning of Supply Shortages

    Mining Weekly zeroes in on strategic metals issues under discussion at the annual Mining Indaba conference in South Africa (indaba, in zulu, is the word for a meeting on matters of substance).   Lara Smith of Core Consultants identifies cobalt, tantalum and the rare earths as high-risk metals, given a combination of uncertain supply and rising [...]
  • Will Canada step in to fill REE void?

    With China’s restrictive rare earths export policies having triggered a rush for other nations to get their hands on the sought-after set of critical minerals, Canada has hopes of filling the REE void left by China, according to the Gemcom Software Mining blog. A nation already rich in a broad variety of mineral resources, Canada is [...]
  • Canadian paper warns of new Cold War over arctic riches

    Working to implement a “strategy to reverse years of neglect and decline in its Far North,” Russia appears ready to re-embrace a Cold War, according to a detailed story in the Toronto Star.  Home to vast mineral resources including oil, zinc, and gold, for example, the Arctic is viewed by Russia as its strategic future, [...]
  • Canada moves forward on promising Strange Lake REE project

    As China continues to hold the world hostage to its restrictive rare earths export policies, Canada is moving forward on a promising REE project discussed on RareMetalBlog.com. The discovery of near-surface mineralization and significant quantities of recoverable rare earth elements (REEs) in 2009 at Quest Rare Minerals’ Strange Lake property on the Quebec-Labrador border has [...]
  • Rare Metals Users Expand Focus Beyond Rare Earths

    Avalon Rare Metals Inc., a mineral exploration and development company primarily focused on rare earth deposits in Canada, is broadening its scope following a request from an “unnamed international industrial minerals company.” According to a press release issued by the company on October 20th, Avalon may partner with the international company to develop minerals on [...]