American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Resource-hungry China continues its global quest for minerals

    While the fate of even first steps towards implementing a strategic minerals policy in the U.S. remains questionable, China is expanding its mineral resource footprint virtually all over the globe.

    According to recent media reports, Chinese companies have made forays into Sri Lanka looking for copper, zinc and aluminium suppliers. While this search was unsuccessful, Sri Lanka, as a nation with “ports and airports with quick connections to the Indian subcontinent and other areas” is still relevant as a logistics base for China in its quest for resources.

    South America is also seeing increased Chinese resource-seeking activity with China’s state-owned Minmetals having submitted a first-round offer for the Las Bambas copper mine in Peru, a US $5.9 billion operation run by Glencore-Xstrata.

    Meanwhile, China’s aggressive pursuit of its minerals agenda in West Africa, where the People’s Republic has seized many mineral resource acquisition opportunities, has prompted India, which is also looking to secure access to critical minerals outside its own borders, to shift focus towards East Africa.

    With the global race for resources in full swing, and no signs of China’s appetite for metals and minerals abating, placing an emphasis on formulating a critical minerals strategy for the U.S. should be a key priority for policy makers. With vast mineral riches beneath our own soil we not only have an opportunity to provide our domestic manufacturers, who find themselves exposed to supply vulnerabilities, stable access to (not all, but many) critical metals and minerals – we have an obligation to do so.

  • Anti-Mine Lobbyists’ Hypocrisy Exposed in the Arizona Copper Debate

    ARPN readers know the vehemence of anti-mining activists in the U.S., including groups like Earthworks, whose director admitted during Congressional testimony earlier this year that the group couldn’t identify a single mine that had ever met with its approval.

    But the cynical tactics on display in the debate taking place around a U.S. House bill to allow development of an Arizona copper mine have reached new heights.

    The Daily Caller reports that the lobbying firm retained by an Arizona tribe to fight the Resolution Copper project – Washington-based Mapetsi Policy Group – is sending emails to House lawmakers alleging that the mine would destroy a “sacred site”, in spite of the fact that, according to the Daily Caller, “the U.S. Forest Service… reviewed the proposed mining area in 2010 and found that it did not conflict with any of the sacred tribal lands in the area.”

    But this is more than a case of a lobby group spinning for its client. The Daily Caller reports that the same firm “has been involved in this issue before. That time, the firm’s client was the one building on sacred lands.”

    Writes the Daily Caller Foundation’s Michael Bastasch:

    Last year, the Muscogee Creek Nation filed a lawsuit to prevent the Poarch Band of Creek Indians from building a casino on Muscogee ceremonial burial grounds. According to the lawsuit, the Poarch Band even moved about 57 sets of human burials last April to build a $246 million casino in the area known as Hickory Ground.

    Indian Country Today Media Network reports that: “Hickory Ground was the last capitol of the National Council of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The sacred place includes a ceremonial ground, a tribal burial ground and individual graves. The current day Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s ancestors lived and were buried there before the tribe was forced from its Alabama homeland on the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma. The sacred site is now held in trust by the Interior Department for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.”

    The Poarch Band is one of Mapetsi’s biggest clients, spending $570,000 on lobbying throughout 2012, according to Influence Explorer.

    The Poarch Band acquired the land in 1984 with help from the state of Alabama and a grant the U.S. Interior Department. However, the Poarch tribe promised that “Acquisition will prevent development on the property” in applying for the federal grant. Just a few years after the land was taken into trust, the Poarch unveiled plans to build a casino there.

    But a few years after Hickory Ground was taken into trust, the Poarch Band unveiled plans to develop a gaming facility there.

    The Mapetsi group did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment about the Poarch Band’s sacred ground troubles.

    And little wonder. What can be said to explain why it is fine to destroy a sacred site in order to build a casino, but not to build a mine – and how the same group can take both positions at once? The question mark only gets bigger in the Arizona instance when the federal agency overseeing the mining proposal has found no sacred site to be at risk.

    Like any tribe near a mining project, the Arizona tribe in this case deserves to have its views heard. But tribal leaders may want to do better due diligence when shopping with scarce dollars for high-priced lobbying help. Hiring a firm on both sides of the sacred sites issue is probably not the best way to encourage dialogue and inspire confidence.

    The protection of sacred sites is a serious policy issue. It shouldn’t be dragged into the debate when it doesn’t exist – especially when those raising the matter have cynically treated sacred sites as expendable elsewhere.

    Whatever happens in the House today, let’s debate new mining projects on the basis of facts, not false claims. Resource development in the U.S. is too critical to do otherwise.

  • U.S. House may take up strategic minerals legislation this week

    The U.S. House of Representatives may take up Congressman Mark Amodei’s (R, Nev.) H.R. 761, the “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013,” this week. The bill ties into the overall context of mineral resource security and our growing minerals deficit, an issue that is of critical importance to our nation’s manufacturing base, [...]
  • McGroarty on The Hill’s Congress Blog: “The U.S. Government has it in its power to act now to close our “copper gap.”

    While China has taken steps to position itself in a “resource war that will increasingly define economic growth and national security in the 21st century,” the United States has subjected itself to a dangerous degree of import dependency for critical minerals – that’s the bottom line of American Resources Principal Daniel McGroarty’s new piece for [...]
  • White House solar panel installation fraught with irony

    With August generally being the slower part of the news cycle, one of the bigger stories last week was that the installation of solar panels on the roof of the White House had begun. Administration officials say in retrofitting the White House building to make it more energy efficient, the President is delivering on a [...]
  • Motley Fool zeroes in on Copper

    In a three-part series, Nick Slepko, a member of the The Motley Fool Blog Network, zeroes in on the importance of Copper. Considering the current controversy over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s actions regarding what could conceivably be the largest deposit of critical minerals in U.S. history – the Pebble Deposit in Alaska – the [...]
  • Tellurium – a critical mineral to be watched

    In her latest piece for ProEdgeWire, Robin Bromby suggests that Tellurium may well be the newest critical metal. Citing two “throwaway lines” from recent reports and media reporting which indicate increased demand for the metal, Bromby goes on to give reasons why Tellurium should be placed on observers’ critical metals watch lists: “Tellurium is vital [...]
  • A Potential Copper Bonanza Runs Afoul of the EPA

    The following op-ed by American Resources Principal Dan McGroarty was published in the Wall Street Journal on July 5, 2013. The original text can be found here. A Potential Copper Bonanza Runs Afoul of the EPA The metal is essential for wind turbines, but a proposed mine in Alaska has set off Keystone-like alarms. By Daniel [...]
  • Public Comment Period on Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment Extended

    Washington Post calls issue “the biggest environmental decision…you’ve never heard of…” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has officially extended the public comment period for its draft Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment – a review released in April in response to calls from anti-mining groups for the EPA to issue a preemptive permit veto under section 404(c) [...]
  • Antarctic mineral riches in the cross-hairs of resource wars

    The global race for resources has countries look for new ways to meet their mineral resource needs. We’re now used to seeing headlines about mineral riches in the Arctic, beneath the ocean seabed, and even asteroid mining. The latest region in the cross-hairs is Antarctica, with – you guessed it – China aggressively pursuing its [...]