American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • “Consumption” Missing Element in Discussion over Mineral Resource Development

    You need “stuff” to make “stuff.”  It’s a simple concept, but one that is all too often forgotten. As ARPN’s Dan McGroarty wrote in a 2015 Forbes op-ed coauthored with then-CEO of mining advisory firm Behre Dolbear Karr McCurdy:

    “[A]s a precursor to sound policy, the nation needs a change in mind-set: It’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.”

    While there has been some movement on the federal policy front since then, many still fail to fully grasp the above-stated fundamental. Against the backdrop of the current discussion over copper development in Minnesota, Jim Bowyer, an environmental consultant and emeritus professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota, tries to set the record straight in a piece for the Star Tribune.

    Writes Bowyer:

    “In all of the discussion about copper mining in Minnesota, there is a remarkable lack of references to copper consumption within our state. At the same time that wind and solar energy expansion and electric vehicles are being enthusiastically promoted, the critical role of copper (and nickel) to these developments is never mentioned.”

    He points to the increased usage of copper in renewable energy ranging from wind turbines over solar collectors to electric vehicles, all of which is fueling demand for the metal, and draws attention to our reliance on foreign supplies of copper.

    Opponents of copper development projects, he argues, are quick to point to the environmental risks of copper mining, but “in none of [the states that are home to copper development], more anywhere else in the U.S., is there citizen opposition to copper consumption (…).”  Somewhat facetiously, Bowyer suggests that “[a] return to the Obama-era 20-year moratorium on copper mining in Minnesota, as advocated by some, should perhaps be accompanied by a 20-year moratorium on the development and adoption of renewable energy and electric vehicles, and by a concerted investment to find copper (and nickel) substitutes. 

    His bottom line is that we can’t have our cake and eat it, too:

    “Society must come to grips with its aversion to copper procurement even as it celebrates the promise of new copper-dependent products and technologies designed to protect and enhance environmental quality. While taking reasonable steps to protect our domestic environment, we must find a way to shoulder our fair share of risks in obtaining the copper we need — or we must take steps to create a future in which less rather than more copper is needed.”

    Click here to read the full piece.

  • Copper – Key Building Block of Our (Green Energy) Future

    Sometimes the title says it all: “Copper and cars: Boom goes beyond electric vehicles,” writes Mining.com contributor Frik Els.

    And indeed, while there is some uncertainty in light of the specter of a trade war looming between the United States and China, triggering a market pullback, the longer term outlook for Copper remains “rosy” precisely because the “boom goes beyond electric vehicles.” 

    Though not the first material that comes to mind — most people think Lithium, Cobalt or Nickel — Copper is widely used being widely used in electric vehicles, charging stations, and supporting infrastructure.  With surging demand for electric vehicles, it is not surprising that the spotlight is on EV technology and the metals underpinning that technology.

    However, as we have previously pointed out, and as Visual Capitalist has skillfully visualized, Copper is not just (partially) driving the EV revolution, it is fueling the green energy revolution on a much broader scale than one would initially think.

    A recent report by BMO Capital Markets confirms this notion, writes Els:

    “The Canadian investment bank says the global push towards green energy  necessitates ‘significant numbers’ of small-scale electricity generation units to be connected to the grid. 

    Solar will add 2.5 million tonnes per year to global copper demand by 2025 and wind 1.85 million tonnes says BMO, adding that offshore wind installations are particularly copper intensive, averaging over 9 tonnes of copper per megawatt.”

    With Copper projects notoriously large-scale in size, and the pipeline of new projects [being] the lowest in a century it comes as no surprise that some observers believe a supply crunch could come sooner than expected.

    The issue of a looming supply crunch becomes even more pertinent when factoring in Copper’s Gateway Metal status, as the metal yields access to at least five metals and minerals deemed “critical” on the Department of Interior’s recently-released list of 35.

    *** To learn more about the important relationship between Gateway Metals and Co-Products read our recent report here. ***

    Copper has played an important role in our past. It is a cornerstone of our present, but it is also a key building block our our (green energy) future. It may not have made Sec. Zinke’s Critical Minerals List this year, but leaving it out of the policy equation could cost us dearly.

  • Critical Mineral List Finalized – Now Comes the Hard Part

    “Identifying which minerals are ‘critical’ is the easy part. Working out what to do about them is going to be much harder.”  – That’s the conclusion Reuters columnist Andy Home draws in his recent piece on the current Administration’s efforts to develop a strategy to reduce import reliance for metals considered “critical to the economic and [...]
  • The Daily Caller: DOI Critical Minerals List Highlights United States’ Over-Reliance on Foreign Mineral Resources

    Heavily quoting from ARPN’s statement on the issue, The Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch earlier this month reported on the Department of the Interior’s finalized list of minerals deemed critical for U.S. national security. Writes Bastasch: “President Donald Trump’s administration’s release of a list of 35 critical minerals highlights just how reliant the U.S. is on [...]
  • Green Energy Revolution Puts Copper in the Driver’s Seat

    At ARPN, we have long touted Copper’s versatility – its traditional uses, new applications and Gateway Metal status – but for those who still struggle to see more in Copper than your old school industrial metal, some visual help has arrived in the form of yet another impressive infographic from Visual Capitalist. The comprehensive infographic [...]
  • Stakeholders and Experts Weigh in on DOI’s Finalized Critical Minerals List 

    Last week, the Department of the Interior released its finalized Critical Mineral list. In spite of calls to include various additional metals and minerals (see ARPN principal Daniel McGroarty’s public comments on the issue here) DOI decided to stick with its pool of 35 minerals deemed critical from a national security perspective. “With the list [...]
  • ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty Comments on DOI’s Release of Final Critical Minerals List

    The Department of the Interior released its final list of Critical Minerals today. The following is ARPN principal Daniel McGroarty’s statement on the list: “DOI issued its final list of Critical Minerals, unchanged at 35.  What we see is the degree of US dependency – the US is 100% import-dependent for 14 of the 35 [...]
  • Copper Gap Looms as Demand for EV Tech Continues to Surge

    While just a few short years ago, Rare Earth Element coverage dominated non-fuel mineral resource news cycles, it is the metals and minerals that fuel electric vehicle and battery technology that are making headlines these days. Here, the spotlight has been on Cobalt, Lithium, and, to a lesser extent, Nickel and associated supply and demand [...]
  • Congressional Western Caucus Members Call for Expansion of Critical Minerals List

    Earlier this month, members of the Congressional Western Caucus sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and Acting Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Mary Neumayr calling for the inclusion of additional metals and minerals into the draft critical minerals list released by Secretary Zinke [...]
  • McGroarty in The Hill: Copper Should Be Factored Into NAFTA “Auto Rules of Origin” Negotiations

    In a new piece for The Hill, American Resources Policy Network principal Daniel McGroarty zeroes in on the intersection between trade and resource policy. Against the backdrop of the current negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), McGroarty argues that one of the metals ARPN followers have come to know as a [...]