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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Addressing a Piece of the Mineral Resource Puzzle – Federal Land Withdrawals

    As followers of ARPN know, the United States has finally embarked on a quest to look for ways to reduce its over-reliance on foreign mineral resources, and in doing so, reduce the leverage it has yielded to nations like China over our national security.

    In a new series for the Capital Research Center, geologist and ARPN expert panel member Ned Mamula, who last year authored “Groundbreaking! America’s New Quest for Mineral Independence,” takes a look a potential piece of the puzzle – federal land withdrawals from access to exploration and mining, the scope of which he says “are not well understood.”

    In four installments, Mamula discusses how public land withdrawal is “endangering the nation,” how we “overdrew our mineral account”, where lands were withdrawn, and how we can “secure our mineral future.”

    Figure 1. General Locations of Major Metals Operations in the United States. Locations include mines producing gold, silver, copper, molybdenum, platinum, lead, zinc, iron, titanium, magnesium, beryllium, and other metals. Source: National Mining Association and U.S. Geological Survey.

    Writes Mamula:

    “We need a groundbreaking compromise so mining can begin again without disrupting areas that should never be disturbed because of their unique national identity and cultural importance. The mineral industry will need to and has already accepted reasonable conditions on its activities. Likewise, preservationists and others must accept the fact that somewhere in that million-acre wilderness area, there is going to be a mine. The mining industry is being squeezed more so than its opponents because the location of ore bodies is immovable. Boundaries of withdrawn land can be adjusted, not the location of mineral deposits. When the right choices are made—both sides win.”

    However, he worries that it may already be too late to completely rectify the situation:

    “The consequences of withdrawing federal lands from mineral exploration and mining have not been fully appreciated by policymakers because the results of their decisions—and those of their predecessors—may take decades to be felt. No one can predict the future, especially regarding the ever-increasing speed of the development and needs of technology and its associated minerals, manufacturing improvements, and global energy requirements.

    Yet previous withdrawals were done cavalierly and without due regard to a comprehensive approach to resource management. Today, the nation is finally feeling the cumulative effect of all previous withdrawal actions as mineral imports hit record highs year over year.”

    An all-of-the-above approach to mineral resource policy, for which ARPN principal Daniel McGroarty has advocated, should encompass a prudent review of federal land withdrawals.

    The presidential impeachment trial may be sucking up all the oxygen in Washington, DC, and dominating the media nationwide, but policy makers would be well-advised not to neglect our mineral resource dependencies, which were finally being recognized as a serious issue on both sides of the political aisle.

    As ARPN’s McGroarty recently noted during a panel discussion:

    “We can’t admire the problem anymore. We don’t have the luxury of time.”

    ***

    For more from Ned Mamula, read his four-piece series “Russia’s Uranium Gambit: An Underappreciated Energy Source”  , and his four-piece series on Rare Earths entitled “America’s Rare Earth Ultimatum: Rare Earths in High Demand.”

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  • Trade Publication Zeroes in on Over-Reliance on Critical Minerals, Cites ARPN’s McGroarty

    Against the backdrop of the upcoming two-year anniversary of the Presidential Executive Order on Critical Minerals, trade publication Industry Week discusses the issue of U.S. over-reliance on foreign mineral resources in its latest issue.

    Recounting some of the key steps taken by the federal government in recent months – i.e. last year’s  Department of the Interior (DoI) list of 35 minerals deemed critical from an economic and national security perspective, and this year’s long-awaited interagency report submitted to the President pursuant to the above-referenced executive order, the piece outlines China’s mineral dominance and willingness to play politics with its status.   

    It cites ARPN’s Dan McGroarty, who during a recent panel discussion reminded attendees that the Chinese-American confrontation “isn’t a trade war for dominance,” and that “the United States can’t beat state-owned companies that are able to stay active with backing of their state (read: China)” — which is why the United States must invest in innovation. 

    During the event, McGroarty called for the federal government to adopt an “all-of-the-above” approach to mineral resource policy in the context of working toward “resource independence,” a comprehensive focus on new mining, recycling and reclamation of new minerals from old mine tailings to alleviate our mineral resource dependencies. 

    While there are indications that the importance of a comprehensive approach is not lost on policy makers from both sides of the political aisle — a bipartisan consensus on how to best get there is yet to be achieved.

    Hopefully, progress is on the horizon here, because as McGroarty pointed out,  “we can’t admire the problem anymore. We don’t have the luxury of time,” because once supply chains are formed, “it’s very difficult to break them, and this will have national security consequences for us.”

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  • Tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 10 – U.S. House Committee to Hold Hearing on “Research and Innovation to Address the Critical Materials Challenge”

    On Tuesday, December 10 — close to the two-year anniversary of the White House’s executive order “to develop a federal strategy to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals” the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on “Research and Innovation to Address the Critical Materials Challenge.” The hearing comes against the backdrop of increased [...]
  • Time to Reduce Our Reliance on “Untrustworthy Countries for Strategically Important Minerals”

    As we recover from collective food coma and return to our desks after a tumultuous Thanksgiving travel week, J. Winston Porter, a former EPA assistant administrator in Washington, reminds us of the importance of keeping the focus on the issues associated with our over-reliance on foreign mineral resources.    In a new piece for InsideSources, Porter [...]
  • U.S. and Australia Formalize Critical Minerals Partnership

    The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has signed a project agreement with its Australian counterpart, GeoScience Australia, to jointly develop a “better understanding of both countries’ critical mineral reserves.”  The agreement is the result of ongoing agency-level talks between the United States and Australia and the recent announcement of a forthcoming formal roll out of an “action [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Against Backdrop of Tech Wars, Russia Seeks to Boost Footprint in Africa

    As the tech wars deepen, the United States is — finally — taking important first steps to secure critical mineral resource supply chains both domestically and through cooperative agreements with allied nations like Australia and Canada.  But while the U.S. gears into action, the global scramble for resources is in full swing.  Case in point:  [...]
  • 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, [...]
  • U.S. and Australia to Roll Out “Mutually Beneficial” Action Plan to Improve Security and Supply of Rare Earths

    Building on recent agency-level talks the United States and Australia have used the occasion of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s week long state visit to the United States to formally announce the forthcoming roll out of an “action plan” to counter Chinese dominance in the critical minerals sector, and specifically the Rare Earths sector. According to news [...]
  • U.S. Senator: “Our Energy Future Is Bright, But Only If We Recognize The World We Are In”

    As the tech wars over Rare Earths and other critical metals and minerals deepen, competition is heating up in another field of resource policy.  In a new piece for the Washington Times, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) discusses the new realities of a globalized energy market and the consequences associated with America’s declining nuclear energy [...]

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