American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • As Troop Withdrawals Make Headlines, U.S. Trailing in War Most Americans Are Not Even Aware Of: The Tech War With China

    According to news reports, the Pentagon earlier this month confirmed a further withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Meanwhile, as National Defense Magazine editor-in-chief Stew Magnuson writes in a new piece for the publication, the U.S. is engaged in a war most Americans were not even aware of — the “Tech War” with China. And, in case you are wondering, it’s not been going so well.

    Zeroing in on Chinese President Xi Jinpin’s recent assertion United Nations General Assembly that his nation had “no intention to fight either a Cold War or a hot one with any country,” Magnuson writes:

    “That may be. But what is really happening is a ‘technology war.’ There is little awareness among the American public about this undeclared war, but it’s well understood in Beijing. (…) The U.S. record in this rivalry stands at 0-1, or possibly 0-2. The United States lost a major battle that it didn’t even realize it was fighting when China over the past decades established monopolies on several critical rare earth elements and a few other strategic minerals (…).”

    If the term “Tech War” rings a bell, it may be because it’s been a recurring theme on our blog for the past few months, ever since ARPN Principal Daniel McGroarty argued that 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” in a piece for The Economic Standard.

    Magnuson believes that the failure to build out a domestic Rare Earths industry will prove to be a “major strategic defeat as these elements are the building blocks for many of this century’s emerging technologies,” — but it does not end there.

    The Tech War, as Magnuson describes it, has a number of battlefronts, ranging from the control over Rare Earths (or, more generally speaking, critical mineral resources) over aviation, space technology, biotech, quantum sciences, robotics, and military technology to artificial intelligence. Already down 0:1 over Rare Earths, he argues that the U.S. runs the risk of going 0:2 when factoring in the battle for 5G dominance, an area where, according to several recent think tank reports, the U.S. is allowing “China to eat its lunch.”

    The fact that, even with partisan tensions flaring in Washington, DC in the months leading up to the election, China’s 5G rollout, is “one of the few afflictions that affect both U.S. political parties,” as ARPN’s McGroarty has argued in an earlier piece on the U.S. decision to ban Huawei’s 5G network, indicates that Magnuson is on to something.

    Magnuson seems to believe that not all is lost, however. He writes:

    “5G and rare earth processing are just two battles in a longer war, and ground that was lost during battles can be seized back. The United States — if it had the will to compete — for example, could end China’s rare earth and strategic minerals monopolies. The United States could end up 2-0, but victory is not assured.”

    This, however, would require more than mere lip service on the part of our elected officials. Months ago, before the pandemic hit and the presidential elections overshadowed all policy, there were indications that a bipartisan consensus was emerging regarding the need to address our over-reliance on Chinese critical materials, and to counter China’s 5G rollout.

    The recent launch of the bipartisan Critical Materials Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives has us hoping for positive impulses, at least on the critical minerals front, going into 2021.

    Here’s hoping that once the fog of the presidential elections has lifted, policy makers have the bandwidth (pun intended) to sufficiently devote their attention to the Tech War with China, which, as Magnuson has argued “may one day describe the age we are living in as ‘the Cold War’ did after World War II.”

  • Take a Break from Election Scrolling – Watch Highlights from Webinar on Lithium Ion Battery, EV and Energy Storage Supply Chain Issues

    While it seems that for weeks, all eyes have been on the Presidential elections in the U.S., earlier in October, our friends of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence hosted its Washington DC Summit 2020, which brought together U.S. Government representatives and industry stakeholders to discuss materials challenges — specifically in the realm of lithium ion battery technology, as well as electric vehicle and energy storage supply chains.

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) delivered the keynotes, highlighting the most recent presidential executive order on critical minerals and calling for complementary congressional action.

    Benchmark Mineral Intelligence has now made highlights from the event, including the keynote addresses, available for streaming.

    So if you need a break from scrolling for election updates as they trickle in from the remaining battle ground states, take a look here.

  • U.S. Senator and AK Governor for The Hill: With China Having Taken Control of Critical Mineral Supply Chains, We Need to Act Now

    Beijing’s threat to withhold potentially life-saving medical supplies and medications in the middle of a global pandemic, during which China has “taken control of [respective] supply chains around the world as part of its quest for global domination,” were a wake up call, write U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R-AK) in [...]
  • China’s New Export Control Legislation Raises Specter of REE Ban

    Three weeks ago, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order declaring a critical minerals national emergency aimed at expanding domestic production of rare-earth and other critical minerals in an effort to reduce dependence on China. Among other things, the order directs the Department of the Interior to explore the application of the Defense Production [...]
  • New Critical Minerals Executive Order Declares National Emergency, Invokes Defense Production Act

    In perhaps the strongest acknowledgment of the urgency of our critical mineral resource woes and over-reliance on foreign (and especially Chinese) supplies to date, U.S. President Donald Trump this week triggered rarely-used emergency government powers to address the issue. On his way to a campaign rally in Minnesota, the president on Wednesday signed an Executive [...]
  • U.S. Over-Reliance on Critical Minerals — Are the Chickens Coming Home to Roost?

    The current coronavirus pandemic has shed a light on an inconvenient truth. We have become over-reliant on foreign (and especially Chinese) raw materials. As we previously outlined, “PPE has become the poster child, but whether it’s smart phone technology, solar panels, electric vehicles, or fighter jets — critical minerals are integrated into all aspects of [...]
  • Growing Mineral Resource Pressures in the Context of the Low-Carbon Transition Warrant “Domestic Mining Boom”

    “[G]aining full access to America’s domestic resources will be essential to our ability to grow, defend ourselves, and dominate in the energy world of tomorrow,” writes Forbes contributer Jude Clemente in a new piece for the publication, adding that “[w]e must finally get serious about America’s need for a mining revolution to give the wind, [...]
  • Russia Pushes for Global Rare Earth Market Share as U.S. Struggles to Move Forward With Critical Minerals Initiatives

    Russia is certainly making headlines this week.  Quite obviously, much of the media attention is focused around President Vladimir Putin’s declaration that Russia has approved a vaccine for the coronavirus (after less than two months of testing) — but developments in the critical minerals realm also warrant attention: A top Russian government official has told [...]
  • Beyond the Rhetoric Lies the Hard Reality of Materials Supply — ARPN’s McGroarty on U.S. Ban of Huawei’s 5G in the Context of Resource Policy

    In a new piece for The Economic Standard, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty discusses critical mineral resource challenges associated with “the great U.S.-China decoupling.”  He does so against the backdrop of the U.S. decision to ban Huawei’s 5G network and imposition of travel sanctions on Huawei employees — a move McGroarty says may well be called the “first battle of [...]
  • Time to “Decouple and Control” our Critical Mineral Resource Supply Chains

    The ongoing coronavirus pandemic tearing through our communities is more than a health crisis — it has “exposed the fragility and flaws of globalized supply chains and extensive offshore production, especially drugs and medical gear,” writes Austin Bay in a new column for Townhall with a special emphasis on China.   Hopes that China would liberalize in the [...]