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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • ARPN’s McGroarty for The Hill: Strength through Peace – Dropping Sec. 232 Tariffs on Aluminum and Steel Could Strengthen U.S. Position vis-a-vis China

    In a new piece for The Hill, ARPN’s Dan McGroarty zeroes in on the inter-relationship of trade and resource policy, which has been an increasingly recurring theme over the past few months.

    McGroarty argues that the removal of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum coming from Mexico and Canada, which have been a “dead weight on the ratification of the USMCA trade deal meant to replace NAFTA,” could “strengthen the president’s hand in the China trade talks” and ultimately “super-charge a North American resource renaissance.” 

    He writes:

    “A new deal that lifted the tariffs would (…) clear the way for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to work together to encourage the development of critical minerals — that rapidly-changing group of metals and minerals essential to advanced technology, including everything from laptops and LEDs, wind and solar power, EV batteries and energy storage, to smart phones and smart bombs.

    With the U.S. dependent on China as its primary supplier of 22 of the 35 critical minerals the Trump administration has deemed ‘essential to the national economy and national security,’ new sources of North American supply could (…) deprive China of the leverage it has to limit or even cut off U.S. critical mineral supplies.”

    A joint focus on critical minerals fueled by the U.S.’s and Canada’s mineral riches and  Mexico’s long history of mining copper and gold that brings with it great potential of co-product  access could “could energize new methods of mining, refining, reclamation and recycling that could bring new supply online to meet surging metals demand.”

    Ultimately, lifting the above-referenced tariffs could have benefits that stretch beyond the three countries.

    Concludes McGroarty:

    “So, while the headlines are dominated by U.S.-China trade war, watch for news on the North American trade front. If the president acts now to lift U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum, opening the path to the passage of the USMCA — linking three nations with a combined GDP of $25 trillion –— trade friction will give way to a new era of trade expansion and economic growth. Trade peace in North America may be just the signal the president wants to send as trade war looms with China.”

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  • U.S. Senators Introduce Legislation in Push to Re-Establish U.S. Domestic REE Supply Chain

    Bearing testimony to a nascent – and long-overdue – broader awareness of our nation’s over-reliance on foreign mineral resources, three U.S. senators have introduced new legislation aimed to reduce U.S. dependence on Chinese imports of rare earth elements (REEs).

    REEs are key components of a wide range of high-tech products across all walks of life – ranging from consumer electronics over industrial over wind turbines to electric vehicles and guided missiles. Meanwhile, the U.S. is nearly 100 percent import-reliant on REEs, a market almost exclusively cornered by the Chinese.

    ARPN and members of the ARPN panel of experts have long pointed out the dangers of this over-reliance. In the words of Jeff A. Green, “[w] have gifted China robust trade leverage should they chose to use it.” Pointing to a 2010 example of China’s previous politicking with this leverage he continued:

    “China could easily cripple American supply chains and significantly limit our ability to produce advanced radar and weapon systems by limiting or disrupting the supply of any one of these minerals. Allowing a non-allied foreign nation to control such a broad swathe of critical minerals is a significant security threat to the U.S. and its warfighters.”

    Introduced by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the “Rare Earth Element Advanced Coal Technologies Act (REEACT),”seeks to change that. It aims to provide federal funds for projects — run under the auspices of the Department of Energy — to develop domestic technology for REE extraction from coal and coal byproducts in order to re-establish a U.S. domestic supply chain.

    According to the press release issued by Sen. Murkowski’s office, “[t]he National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) began studying the potential of extracting rare earth elements from coal and coal byproducts in 2010, and expanded its REE research efforts in 2014. In 2016, NETL’s Rare Earth Elements (REE) from Coal and Coal Byproducts RD&D Program awarded two grants to West Virginia University for researchers to evaluate the potential use of REEs from coal byproducts in the region. In July 2018, West Virginia University, in collaboration with NETL, opened a pilot scale rare earth extraction facility to continue its research towards commercialization. REEACT authorizes an annual appropriation of $23,000,000 per year to the Department of Energy through 2027.”

    Says Sen. Capito:

    “Rare earth elements are essential to our economy and national security, but the United States is currently dependent on foreign suppliers—particularly China—for this valuable resource. “As it turns out, rare earth elements can be extracted from coal and its byproducts, including fly ash and acid mine drainage, and extracting these materials provides a financial incentive for cleaning up legacy mine sites. This legislation would help support the research and development of these technologies, a win-win-win for Appalachia’s economy, the environment, and our national defense.”

    The bill ties into the broader effort to strengthen the United States’ mineral and economic security, in the context of which Sen. Murkowski is expected to “introduce standalone legislation aimed at streamlining the permitting process for lithium and other mines, bolstering state and federal studies of domestic supplies of critical minerals and encouraging mineral recycling, among other topics,” according to government sources.

    Of course, ARPN will be keeping tabs on all these efforts, so check back for updates in the coming weeks and months.

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  • 2018 – A Year of Incremental Progress?

    In case you hadn’t noticed amidst holiday preparations, travel arrangements and the usual chaos of everyday life – 2019 is just around the corner, and with that, the time to reflect on the past twelve months has arrived. So here is ARPN’s recap of 2018: Where we began. Unlike previous years, we started 2018 with [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Post-Thanksgiving Rut? Back to Basics on Resource Policy Issues

    If you’re still struggling to get your bearings after the long Thanksgiving weekend, you’re not alone. A New York Times piece from this Monday provides a good snapshot of what we are going through –  and offers “4 Ways to Stay Motivated When You’re in a Rut:”  Writes the NYT: “It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving, and we’re all [...]
  • Chinese Strategy and the Global Resource Wars – A Look at the Arctic 

    It’s the big elephant in the resource room – China. The recently-released 130-page long declassified version of the Defense Industrial Base Report mention the words “China” or “Chinese”  a “whopping 229 times” – for good reason.  As the Department of Defense argues in the report, “China’s domination of the rare earth element market illustrates the potentially dangerous interaction between Chinese economic [...]
  • ARPN’s McGroarty for The Hill: With USMCA, Time to Take Strategic North American Alliance to the Next Level Has Arrived

    “Now that President Trump has won agreement to replace NAFTA with the USMCA — the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement — he has an opportunity to build on that accomplishment, and broaden the benefits of trade to strengthen national security,” writes ARPN Principal Daniel McGroarty in a new op-ed for The Hill. The next step, says McGroarty, [...]
  • A View From Across the Pond: European Resource Policy Through the Prism of a Low-Carbon Vision

    The recently-released Defense Industrial Base study, which once more has underscored the need for a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. resource policy, directed its focus on U.S. competitiveness primarily vis-à-vis China. Already vast and resource-rich, the country has demonstrated an insatiable appetite for the world’s mineral resources and has pursued an aggressive strategy to gain access [...]
  • ARPN Expert Panel Member: Defense Industrial Base Report “A Significant Step Forward for the U.S. Military”

    With the long-awaited Defense Industrial Base report finally released, analysts have begun pouring over the 146-pages-long document. One of the first issue experts to offer commentary in a national publication was Jeff Green, president of Washington, D.C.-based government relations firm J.A. Green & Company, and member of the ARPN panel of experts. Writing for Defense [...]
  • Exemptions from U.S. China-directed Tariff List Speak to “Strategic Vulnerabilities” in Resource Realm

    Last month, we highlighted how the exclusion of Rare Earths from the list of tariffs to be imposed on Chinese goods released by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) earlier this summer spoke to the growing awareness of their strategic importance in the United States. However, Rare Earths were not the only items [...]

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