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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • “Something Does not Come from Nothing” – Formulation of Mineral Resource Strategy Should be a Precursor to Green Energy Debate

    “Something does not come from nothing. That fact can be easily forgotten when it comes to seemingly abstract concepts like ‘energy,’” writes Angela Chen in a new piece for technology news and media network The Verge. Chen zeroes in on four key metals and minerals that have become indispensable components of green energy technology – Neodymium, Copper, Lithium and Cobalt. She writes:

    “As the climate change crisis worsens, more politicians are starting to underscore the importance of transitioning to clean energy. More clean energy means more solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and large-scale batteries. But it also means more demand for the materials that make those technologies possible.”

    If this sounds familiar to followers of ARPN, it’s because it is.  Discussing 21st Century technology and its backbone – i.e. the metals and minerals underpinning it – we have previously argued that: “You need ‘stuff’ to make ‘stuff,’ and that “[i]t’s time to remind ourselves that life as we know it is made possible by the inventive use of metals and minerals. Smart phones, the Cloud, the Internet: These things may seem to work by magic, but quite often the backbone of high-tech is mineral and metal, not fairy dust.” 
    It is an important reminder that has so far been largely ignored in the context of the hotly-debated Green New Deal, revealing an inherent irony of 21st century environmentalism.  As we pointed out last week:

    “If we want to make the transition to a green-tech and clean energy future, we will continue to rely on critical minerals – which is why current efforts to formulate a comprehensive mineral resource strategy should be a precursor to any serious discussion on this matter.” 

    It is critical to have this conversation now — as underscored by a recent Congressional hearing during which Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Industrial Minerals and member of the ARPN panel of issue experts, alerted U.S. Senators to the fact that the U.S. is already falling behind in one key green energy area – battery technology and energy storage. Moores called the U.S. a “bystander” in the current battery arms race.  
    Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski agreed, and called the United States’ growing reliance on mineral imports our “Achilles’ heel that serves to empower and enrich other nations, while costing us jobs and international competitiveness.” 
    She continued:

    “Over the past several years, our committee has sought to call attention to our reliance on foreign nations for minerals. The administration has taken several important steps, but we must complement their actions with congressional legislation.”

    Here’s hoping that they do. 
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  • U.S. Currently Bystander in Global Battery Arms Race, ARPN Expert Tells U.S. Senate Committee

    A key global player, the United States is not used to being a bystander. Yet this is exactly what is currently happening, says Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s Managing Director Simon Moores, addressing the full U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources this morning.

    Delivering his testimony on the outlook for energy and minerals market in the 116th Congress with a special emphasis on battery technology, Moores, who is also a member of the ARPN panel of issue experts, told senators that as battery megafactories are being built to make lithium ion battery cells “[a]t the beginning of 2019, the US has a minor to non-existent role in most of the key lithium- ion battery raw materials and only has a presence in lithium ion battery manufacturing via Tesla. Tesla and its Gigafactory 1 is emerging to be the most strategic US asset in the EV supply chain.

    Providing insightful details and supporting data for the four key battery raw materials lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite, Moores drives home an important message:

    “Those who control these critical raw materials and those who possess the manufacturing and processing know how, will hold the balance of industrial power in the 21st century auto and energy storage industries.”

    The writing is on the wall. As Moores previously stated:

    “Without low cost, abundant lithium ion batteries & secure supply chains, the US will fall behind in the EV & energy storage revolution.”

    This clearly is a scenario U.S. policy makers and other stakeholders will want to avoid, which is why moving forward on mineral resource policy reform is critical.

    We know it is much to ask of Washington, where too often, partisan politics override prudent policies. However, as another fellow ARPN expert panel member Jeff Green recently said (while addressing resource policy in the context of the defense industrial base):

    “In the new Congress, Democrats and Republicans should seek out opportunities to work together in advancing mutually sought-after goals in this critical policy area.”

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  • U.S. Senate to Hold Hearing on Energy and Mineral Markets, Member of ARPN Expert Panel to Testify

    We’ve called it “the new black.” The Guardian even went as far as ringing in the “Ion Age.”  Bearing testimony to the growing importance of battery technology, the U.S. Senate will hold a hearing examining the outlook for energy and minerals markets in the 116th Congress on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 with an emphasis on battery [...]
  • Move Over, Lithium and Cobalt, Graphite and Graphene are About to Take Center Stage – Courtesy of the Ongoing Materials Science Revolution

    Earlier this week, we pointed to what we called the “new kid on the block” in battery tech – Vanadium.  It appears that what held true for music, is true in this industry as well – “new kids on the block” arrive in groups. Now, all puns aside – as Molly Lempriere writes for Mining-Technology.com, [...]
  • Race to Control Battery Tech Underscores Need for Comprehensive Resource Policy 

    Against the backdrop of the ongoing electric vehicle revolution, automakers are increasingly forced to deal with the realities of resource supply.  One of these realities was spelled out in clear terms by a Wall Street Journal report which stated: “There’s a Global Race to Control Batteries – and China is Winning.  Chinese companies dominate the [...]
  • Cobalt’s Star Rising Even Further in Light of Breakthrough New Applications?

    Cobalt is a rising star among critical minerals, in large part because of its key role in battery technology.  However, that’s hardly the only reason. The ongoing materials science revolution has produced a new long-term use for Cobalt that may prove to be a technological breakthrough: A California-based company has announced that it has found [...]
  • The U.S. Hunt for Cobalt – a Rising Star Among Critical Minerals – Is On

    “Gold once lured prospectors to the American west – but now it’s cobalt that is sparking a rush,” writes the BBC in a recent feature story about Cobalt, which, as ARPN followers will know, is a “key component in the lithium-ion batteries that power electronic devices and electric cars.”  Once a somewhat obscure metal, Cobalt [...]
  • “Critical Minerals Alaska” – Rising Demand and Supply Side Complications Combine as Catalysts to Establish Domestic Sources of Cobalt

    In his latest installment of “Critical Minerals Alaska” – a feature series for North of 60 Mining News that “investigates Alaska’s potential as a domestic source of minerals deemed critical to the United States,” Shane Lasley takes a closer look at Cobalt, one of the key metals underpinning the current EV technology revolution. Once an [...]
  • Materials Science Profiles of Progress: CMI Expands Collaborative Research Focus to Include Lithium and Cobalt

    The Critical Materials Institute (CMI), a Department of Energy research hub under the auspices of Ames Laboratory, is expanding its research on tech metals “as rapid growth in electric vehicles drives demand for lithium, cobalt.” According to a recent Ames Lab press release, the Institute will focus on maximizing the efficiency of processing, usage and [...]
  • Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s World Tour Returns to U.S. this May

    Our friends from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence – formidable experts when it comes to battery tech and the mineral resources driving it – are returning to the U.S. in May for another round of their World Tour. This year’s tour will “focus on the supply chains for the next generation of battery technologies,” and seek to [...]

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