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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • 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 all over the world. 

    Case in point:  India, which although rich in mineral resources, relies to a significant extent on Chinese imports to meet domestic needs.  As the New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) recently outlined, India is one of the few countries that is home to vast REE reserves, but is ranked low in the REE market and considered more of a “low-cost supplier of raw materials.”

    The fact that most of REES consumed in India are imported from China, deprives the country of an “opportunity to earn substantial revenues as a supplier of hi-tech equipment like neodymium magnets” – particularly because the country is lacking a downstream sector, i.e. the manufacturing of intermediate products. “[i]nterestingly Japan currently imports dysprosium from India, using it to manufacture advanced neodymium magnets which are of high value, and today controls a sizeable portion of the global neodymium magnets market.”

    Realizing the urgency of the situation, the Indian government, albeit late to the race, has taken first steps to strengthen its critical minerals outlook, and earlier this summer released a new National Mineral Policy aimed at increasing the production of major minerals by 200 percent in 7 years. 

    Home to about 6.9 million metric tons of REEs – which amounts to roughly one-fifth of global reserves — companies have begun exploring REE opportunities domestically.

    More must be done, however, says IDSA: 

    “While a beginning has been made with the announcement of a National Mineral Policy 2019, covering non-fuel and non-coal minerals, India must strive to acquire expertise in valorising these minerals and shift to developing its downstream sector.”

     As co-founder of Technology Metals Research Jack Lifton suggested earlier this year, India could well become an alternative supplier of REEs to the world as it “has large reserves of monazite and is unexplored for other rare-earth minerals. (…) What’s missing is a domestic downstream processing supply chain. If this is constructed, India will become a major producer.” 

    “To that end,” concludes the IDSA analysis,  “India should seek to leverage its ties with Japan and other countries that have the requisite technology for manufacturing downstream equipment so that it can set itself up as an alternative source of the REE-based technology, with its own supply chain of minerals and metals required for the same, instead of being content with being a mere supplier of upstream materials.”

    As the U.S. continues to forge partnership agreements with allied nations such as Australia and Canada to secure its critical mineral supply chains, expect other nations like India to do the same.  The scramble for the world’s mineral resources has only just begun.  

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  • 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:  reports that Russia may be taking advantage of the United States’ shifted focus away from foreign entanglements and may be “following China’s lead and making a splashy bid for influence in Africa.”

    For the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed dozens of African national leaders for a summit in Sochi earlier this month in what was supposed to “underline the reversal of Russia’s retreat from the continent and demonstrate the country is no longer a defunct World power,” according to Voice of America (VOA)

    Speaking to reporters, a Putin spokesman said: 

    “This is a very important continent. (…) Russia has things to offer in terms of mutually beneficial cooperation to African countries.”

    According to the Associated Press, Russia “is taking advantage of the Trump administration’s seemingly waning interest in the continent of 1.2 billion people that includes some of the world’s fasted growing economies and a strategic perch on the Red Sea.”

    Followers of ARPN are no stranger to recent Russian forays into mineral-rich areas of the world. One need to look no further than the Arctic, where, against the backdrop of the region’s increasing strategic relevance and China’s ever-growing influence, Russia has increased its military commitment and upgraded its old Soviet Arctic military bases. 

    In Africa, the Kremlin is looking to revive its relationships from the Soviet era, which were extensive at the time, but cut off abruptly with the collapse of the Soviet Union.   As VOA reports, while trade with African countries has already increased by 350 percent in the past decade, according to Russia’s foreign ministry, the country hopes that the conference will lead to more oil, and mineral resource deals with African states going forward.

    To be sure, Russia’s engagement on the African continent pales in comparison to China’s, which has been aggressively tapping the continent’s vast mineral potential by investing hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure projects as part of its One Belt One Road Strategy.

    Against this background, analysts argue that Russia’s role in Africa should not be overestimated, as its “involvement in Africa is limited and guided by a combination of unrealistic ambitions and opportunism,” and “U.S. efforts should continue to prioritize addressing those long-standing challenges rather than being reoriented around the far narrower issue of countering Russian actions.”

    Neither, however — with the tech wars over which country will dominate the 21 Century Tech Age in full swing — should Russia’s African resource outreach be neglected or ignored. 

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  • 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 [...]
  • As Tech War Deepens Over REEs, Australia Steps Up to the Plate

    As the trade war between China and the United States deepens, concern over access to Rare Earths and other critical minerals is spreading all over the world.  While the U.S. is taking steps aimed at increasing domestic REE supplies — most recently manifesting in the Trump Administration’s invocation of the 69-year-old Defense Production Act and [...]
  • McGroarty for the Economic Standard: In the Arctic Resource Wars, Greenland is a Hot Property

    In a new piece for The Economic Standard, ARPN’s Dan McGroarty puts the current controversy over President Trump’s quip about wanting to buy Greenland from Denmark in context. Invoking President Truman’s offer to purchase Greenland in 1946 as well as Secretary of State William Henry Seward’s 1867 purchase of Alaska — for which he received [...]
  • Greenland at the Heart of Resource Race in 21st Century Tech War

    While a deal is not likely to happen, and some question whether the comment was more quip than opening offer, President Trump’s recent interest in buying Greenland from Denmark has done one thing: bring Greenland and the Arctic into focus.   The President’s suggestion has been ridiculed by many, but from a strategic perspective — [...]
  • Materials Science Profiles of Progress: REE Extraction and Separation From Phosphoric Acid

    The tech war between China and the United States over who will dominate the 21st Century Technology Age is heating up. Earlier this week, China’s rare earth producers, who control the vast majority of global REE output, put out a statement declaring they are ready to “use their dominance of the industry as a weapon in [...]
  • U.S. Steps Up International Cooperation to Counter Chinese Resource Threat

    Against the backdrop of mounting Chinese-American trade tensions, the United States is stepping up cooperative efforts with allies to reduce its reliance on Chinese supplies of Rare Earths.   The most recent case in point – a partnership with Australia and Japan – includes the setting up of a separation facility in the U.S. Reports [...]

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