-->
American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • 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 Reuters that Russia plans an investment of $1.5 billion in rare earth minerals in its quest to become the biggest REE producer after China by 2030.

    The move comes at a time when other countries, including the United States, are trying to curb their over-reliance on foreign critical minerals against the backdrop of growing tensions with China, which has long held the pole position in the race to control the global REE supply chain.

    According to Reuters, Russia is looking to attract investors for eleven projects designed to increase the country’s share of global REE output to 10% by 2030, allowing for Russia to “become almost self-sufficient in rare earth elements by 2025 and start exports in 2026.”

    While it appeared that U.S. efforts to promote domestic critical mineral resource development were finally gaining traction in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic having laid bare our mineral resource supply chain challenges and over-reliance on foreign (and especially Chinese) supplies, policy may once more become the victim of politics in this watershed election year. 

    Reform-minded lawmakers have put forth several legislative initiatives, and have even formed a bipartisan “Critical Materials Caucus.”  However, while critical minerals provisions were added to the latest round of COVID relief stimulus packages, chances of their passage have been dwindling as partisan tensions continue to flare.
    As attempts to keep the momentum for resource-related policy reform appear to have come to an impasse in Congress, researchers are forging ahead to provide innovative solutions that not only transform the way we use certain metals and minerals, but have the potential to help alleviate our over-reliance issues. 

    The Department of Energy has stepped up its efforts to promote collaboration between its research hubs and the private sector to look for ways to diversify mineral resource supply, develop substitutes and drive recycling of critical minerals and rare earth elements. Some recent initiatives include “using a high-speed shredder that turns old computer hard drives into scrap containing significant amounts of REE content,” and “recovering nickel, cobalt and manganese from disassembled electric vehicle battery packs.”

    Meanwhile, in the private sector, a rare earths pilot plant processing facility situated in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, which will focus on group separation on REEs in to heavy, middle, and light rare earths, has received the required permits and officially opened. According to media reports“USA Rare Earth’s pilot plant is the second link in a 100% US-based rare earth oxide supply chain, drawing on feedstock from its Round Top deposit.”

    Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit,  the U.S. had begun to enter into cooperative agreements with allied nations to ensure future supplies of critical materials, specifically with Canada and Australia. 

    Against the backdrop of the upcoming 2020 elections, finding policy consensus may be more than an uphill battle.  However, for the sake of our national security and economic wellbeing, lawmakers would be well-advised to reach out across the political aisle to foster a policy environment that promotes an all-of-the-above approach on critical minerals and harnesses the United States’ vast domestic mineral potential.   

    Share
  • U.S. Senate To Take Up Comprehensive Bipartisan Legislation Containing Critical Minerals Provisions As Early As This Week

    The U.S. Senate may cast a vote on a comprehensive bipartisan energy legislation package that contains provisions pertaining to critical mineral resource supply issues as early as this week.  

    S. 2657 is the legislative vehicle for the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA), a package consisting of several pieces of legislation, which reflect the “priorities of more than sixty members” and have “undergone extensive regular order process.”

    Key provisions of the bill package focus “on energy efficiency; renewable energy; energy storage; carbon capture, utilization, and storage; advanced nuclear; industrial and vehicle technologies; the Department of Energy; mineral security; cyber and grid security and modernization; and workforce development.”

    Of particular interest to followers of ARPN is Title II of the AEIA — which is focused on “Supply Chain Security.”  Title II contains provisions to streamline the federal permitting system for mining projects, calling for research and development on recycling and developing alternatives to critical minerals, the development of analytical and forecasting tools to evaluate critical minerals markets, and the strengthening of the critical minerals workforce. With regards to Rare Earths specifically, Title II calls for the enactment of a program to “develop advanced separation technologies for the extraction and recovery of rare earth elements (REEs) and minerals from coal and coal byproducts,” and respective reporting to Congress.

    Speaking on the floor after the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 2657,  U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), who has long championed critical minerals legislation in the U.S. Senate said:

    “It has now been more than 12 years since Congress enacted comprehensive legislation to update our nation’s energy laws. During that time the shale revolution has turned America into an energy superpower. The costs of renewable resources have come down dramatically. New technologies are emerging, but our policies have not kept pace. We are missing out on opportunities to further our energy leadership, and we are failing to adequately address some very significant challenges.” 

    The bill package is perhaps more timely than ever, as the recent outbreak and ongoing spread of the coronavirus — aside from being a massive public health crisis with pandemic potential — is revealing significant supply chain vulnerabilities stemming from an over-reliance on foreign supplies of mineral resources. 

    With a Senate vote on the American Energy Innovation Act expected as early as this week, here’s hoping that members understand the urgency of the situation. 

    For information on the bill package, check the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources website here.

    Share
  • Moving Beyond the Report Stage? – Specter of REE Supply Disruptions Prompts Congressional Action on Critical Minerals

    The U.S. and China have resumed trade talks after last month’s meeting between U.S. President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka broke a deadlock — but key issues remain far from settled. Against the backdrop of both sides preparing for a protracted battle, Jeff Green, president [...]
  • Mamula and Bridges: Hardrock “Modernization” Bills Could Do More Harm Than Good

    “Does America stand for self-reliance and innovative discovery of critical minerals for our economy and national defense and security? Or will Congress drive the fatal stake through the heart of our struggling domestic metals mining industry?” According to a new Washington Examiner piece by Cato Institute Adjunct Scholar in Geosciences and ARPN expert panel member [...]
  • ARPN Expert Panel Member in The Hill: U.S. Must Stop Shunning the Importance of Its Mineral Wealth

    In a new piece for The Hill, ARPN expert panel member and author of the recently-released “Groundbreaking! America’s New Quest for Mineral Independence” Ned Mamula laments the United States’ long-standing ignorance and even shunning of “the importance of its mineral wealth.”  In spite of the fact that, as he says, mining is “the one economic sector that meets the [...]
  • Trade Tensions Underscore Need for Mineral Resource Policy Reform

    While 2018 brought the inter-relationship between trade and resource policy to the forefront, this trend is continuing in 2019.   Last week, the White House announced sanctions on Iranian metals, which represent the Tehran regime’s biggest source of export revenue aside from petroleum.  The sanctions on Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum and copper sectors represent the [...]
  • Lawmakers Introduce New Legislation Aimed at Changing United States’ “Bystander” Status in Race for Critical Minerals

    As pressures mount for the United States to bolster its position as a non-fuel mineral raw materials producer amidst the ongoing battery tech revolution, a group of U.S. Senators have introduced legislation to boost domestic production of critical minerals. The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and [...]
  • U.S. Senators Introduce Legislation in Push to Re-Establish U.S. Domestic REE Supply Chain

    Bearing testimony to a nascent – and long-overdue – broader awareness of our nation’s over-reliance on foreign mineral resources, three U.S. senators have introduced new legislation aimed to reduce U.S. dependence on Chinese imports of rare earth elements (REEs). REEs are key components of a wide range of high-tech products across all walks of life [...]
  • ARPN Expert: Partisan Politics Aside, New Congress Holds Opportunity to Strengthen Defense Industrial Base

    In a new piece for Defense News, Jeff Green, president of Washington, D.C.-based government relations firm J.A. Green & Company, and member of the ARPN panel of experts, calls on lawmakers on Capitol Hill to work towards overcoming partisan divides and “find common ground to support the defense-industrial base.” One of the first analysts to [...]
  • Full Senate Committee to Examine DOI Critical Minerals List and U.S. Mineral Resource Dependence

    Bearing testimony to the growing importance assigned to the issue of critical minerals, the full U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing to “examine the Department of the Interior’s final list of critical minerals for 2018 and opportunities to strengthen the United States’ mineral security” on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, [...]

Archives