American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Green: Over-reliance on Foreign Mineral Imports “Fiscally Foolish and Politically Dangerous”

    In a new piece for The Hill, member of the ARPN expert panel and president and founder of Washington, DC-based government relations firm J.A.Green & Company Jeff A. Green stresses the national security risks associated with our over-reliance on foreign sources of supply for key mineral resources.

    Citing FBI Director Christopher Wray, who recently told Congress that China is seeking to undermine the United States’ military, economic, cultural and information power across the globe, Green argues that

    “[a] major contributor to China’s rising power, and one of its primary trade weapons, is its near-monopoly over several minerals and materials that the United States military relies on to maintain its technological edge.”

    As Green points out, our mineral resource dependencies have grown significantly over the last few decades, and the risk of supply chain disruptions looms large:

    “Given the nation’s increased foreign dependence, adversarial nations that provide these minerals, such as China and Russia, have gained geopolitical leverage at exactly the wrong time. Russia now poses a national security threat across multiple domains, and China has demonstrated an “impressive military buildup…across almost every domain,” according to the head of U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris.

    And yet, as of 2017 China was still a major supplier of 26 commodities to the United States that are essential for aerospace and defense applications. Given that the United States possesses mineral reserves worth $6.2 trillion, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), continuing to rely on imports is fiscally foolish and politically dangerous.”

    Green commends the administration for taking steps that begin to address the issue, and cites various executive orders and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s draft list of 35 minerals that are considered essential to U.S. National Security.

    Meanwhile, he argues, the U.S. Congress has so far missed opportunities to enact legislation that would address one of the key obstacles to domestic mineral resource development – an outdated and convoluted permitting structure.  Rep. Mark Amodei’s (R, Nev.) “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act,” and Sen. Dean Heller’s (R, Nev.) identical Senate bill would “remove a significant barrier to entry, and expedite the mining permit process to no more than 30 months,” but so far, Congress has failed to take steps to pass these bills.  Writes Green:

    “The White House, through its executive orders, has shown that it understands the risks of the current, laborious mine permitting system in the United States, and recognizes the potential rewards for encouraging new sources of critical materials. Whether through Amodei’s bill or another mechanism, Congress should also act to mitigate these risks and encourage new efforts.” 

    To read the full piece, click here.

  • Lithium – A Material “Coming of Age” is Case in Point for Mineral Resource Policy Reform

    As we have outlined, last month’s executive order on critical minerals could have far-reaching implications for our national security and economic wellbeing.  If you needed a case in point – look no further than Lithium.

    One of the hottest commodities of the day, Lithium, as ARPN expert panel member and managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, Simon Moores recently outlined, “is coming of age in a big way. It’s the core ingredient to 99 percent of electric vehicles and as a result, demand is going through the roof.”

    Meanwhile, China has long been jockeying for pole position in the EV industry segment, and is “outpacing the U.S. and other countries in a global race to secure supplies of [Lithium - ] an all-important element for electric cars.”

    In global terms, Moores’s company sees a 10-fold increase in the industry’s demand profile over a ten-year timeframe.  Currently, Lithium supplies are largely sourced from Chile, Argentina and Australia, and processed into battery grade material in China and the U.S.

    Against the backdrop of surging demand, a few months ago, professor emeritus of mining engineering at the University of Nevada, Jaak Daemen, lamented that the reason the U.S. was unprepared to meet demand was not a lack of resources, but rather “a regulatory approach that endlessly delays bringing mines in production.”

    The executive order may help change that.

    Nevada is one of the states with known Lithium reserves. As the Las Vegas Sun recently outlined, “[b]uoyed by Nevada’s enormous potential reserve of lithium and the opening of Tesla’s Gigafactory nearly 200 miles to the north, 25 mining companies and investor-backed speculators have staked more than 13,000 placer claims, covering almost the entirety of the Clayton Valley and 18 hydrographic basins.”

    Meanwhile, much of these companies’ activities in the state are still exploratory, and as Jim Faulds, geologist and director of the Bureau of Mines and Geology at the University of Nevada in Reno has pointed out, “Lithium has not been studied in much detail in Nevada to really understand how much might be out there.” 

    As a direct consequence of the executive order, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has already signed a secretarial order directing initial steps to producing the first nationwide geological and topographical survey of the U.S. in modern history, and in doing so marking a first step towards “really understanding how much might be out there” – not just Lithium and not just in Nevada, but materials across the critical minerals spectrum and across the United States. Coupled with other reforms outlined by the executive order, including permitting reform which has hampered domestic mineral resource development for too long, this survey may help yield a comprehensive federal action plan that can significantly reduce our over-reliance on foreign mineral resources.

    While it is unlikely that the U.S. will become self-sufficient for its Lithium needs, there is no good reason why we should not harness our domestic resource potential to the fullest extent possible, and in doing so make the U.S. stronger, more competitive, and safer.

  • Automakers Pledge to Uphold Ethical and Socially Responsible Standards in Materials Sourcing. Where Will the Metals and Minerals Come From?

    Late last month, international automakers made headlines when pledging “to uphold ethical and socially responsible standards in their purchases of minerals for an expected boom in electric vehicle production.” As Reuters reported, a group of 10 car manufacturers have formed an initiative to “jointly identify and address ethical, environmental, human and labor rights issues in [...]
  • China Jockeys for Pole Position in EV Industry

    ARPN followers know it’s the elephant in the room. 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 to the materials needed to meet the world’s largest population’s resource needs. Thus, it comes as no surprise that China [...]
  • ARPN’s McGroarty for Investor’s Business Daily: U.S. Mineral Resource Dependence a “Clear and Present Danger”

    Against the backdrop of growing threats to U.S. security – recent flash points involve Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea – a new Presidential Executive Order “On Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States,” zeroes in on defense readiness. The E.O. requires heads from various [...]
  • Africa Taking Center Stage in China’s Quest for Resources

    It is “the single largest source of mineral commodities for the United States, particularly for resources like rare earth elements, germanium, and industrial diamonds,” according to the United States Geological Survey, which notes in its most recent Mineral Commodity Summaries report that “of the 47 mineral commodities that the United States is more than 50 [...]
  • Happy Independence Day! We’re Free, Yet So Dependent

    Happy Birthday, America! Another trip around the sun, and we’re back on the eve of the 4th of July gearing up for parades, barbecues and fireworks in honor of the men and women who have fought, and continue to safeguard our freedom today. Last year, we used this opportunity to point out that while we cherish [...]
  • The Arctic – A Looming Battlefield for Resource Supremacy?

    While relations between Russia and the United States continue to make headlines on a daily basis, one particular aspect of this relationship – in spite of the fact that it may be one of the most contentious ones – has been largely flying under the radar. As Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin recently wrote: [...]
  • North Korean Brinkmanship Highlights Nexus Between Resource Policy and Geopolitics

    At ARPN, we have long highlighted the important but oft-overlooked nexus between resource policy and geopolitics.   The latest case in point is South Korea, which, as ARPN President Daniel McGroarty points out in his latest opinion piece for Fox News, is navigating murky waters “talking sunshine and Rare Earths as North Korean war clouds gather.” For decades, [...]
  • The U.S. Tomahawk Strike – Syria, Russia … and China?

    While the world media mulls the impact of the U.S. airstrike on Syria in the wake of the sarin gas attack and marvel at the accuracy of the Tomahawk cruise missile, friends of ARPN are reminded that the rare earths critical to the Tomahawk’s terminal guidance system are sourced from China. An interesting sidebar to [...]