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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • 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 scenarios, but Copper — both a traditional mainstay metal and tech metal in its own right that also serves as a “Gateway Metal” to several other tech metals — also warrants attention.  Perhaps less flashy than its peers, Copper is widely used in electric vehicles, charging stations, and supporting infrastructure.

    But along with these new uses of a long-mined metal, Moody’s Investors service offers a warning:

    “Supply constraints affecting cobalt, lithium, copper and nickel, key metals for making the batteries that power electric cars, could slow production rates of [EV] power storage units in the near term.”

    Mining.com cites Carol Cowan, a Senior Vice President at Moody’s:

    “Declining ore grades for copper, continued lack of investment in new mines and the time required to bring new discoveries to production will constrain metal availability and, ultimately, the metal sector’s ability to meet growing demand from automakers for battery electric vehicle production.”

    Moody’s, which also expects Nickel and Cobalt supply insufficiencies against the backdrop of growing demand for EV battery technology, anticipates Copper consumption to greatly outstrip supply as it is slated to increase more than six times.

    CRU analyst Hamish Sampson estimates that “unless new investments arise, existing copper mine production will drop from 20 million tonnes to below 12 million tonnes by 2034, leading to a supply shortfall of more than 15 million tonnes.”

    Sampson, who had previously pointed out that over 200 currently-operating Copper mines will be reaching the end of their production cycle before 2035, has put together a graphic that paints a drastic picture of a looming Copper gap, of which ARPN’s Dan McGroarty had warned as early as 2013:

    Only if “every single copper project currently in development or being studied for feasibility is brought online before then, including most discoveries that have not yet reached the evaluation stage, the market could meet projected demand,” said Sampson according to Mining.com.

    All of this his goes to underscore what ARPN has long touted, and most recently outlined in our new report on the inter-relationships between Gateway Metals and their Co-Products:

    Copper is “far more than just your old school industrial metal” — which is why including it into the draft critical minerals list released by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke would be a common sense proposition.

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  • 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 earlier this spring.

    The letter, endorsed by business representatives, elected officials and resource experts, specifically asks for the addition of aggregates, copper, molybendum, gold, zinc, nickel, lead, silver and certain fertilizer compounds to the list.

    In the public statement on the letter, which ARPN joined as a signatory, Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Paul A. Gosar (AZ-04) commended the Administration for “opening up the critical mineral designation process and really listening to the input of experts, Congress, industry and members of the public in order to examine the economic and geopolitical ramifications of certain minerals being placed in or excluded from the ‘critical minerals’ list.”

    He went on to say:

    “ The good news is that for so many of the minerals which may be designated ‘critical’, we enjoy substantial reserves at home. There is no need for the United States to be import-reliant on adversaries and foes for these valuable materials. Today, we ask that those who are making decisions about ‘critical’ status make sure that obviously-critical minerals like copper, gold, molybdenum, zinc and others make the final list. Given the incredible domestic need for these minerals, it’s no exaggeration to say that the very security and stability of our country depend on the United States prioritizing permitting and development for our vast reserves right here in America.”  

    ARPN Principal Daniel McGroarty had previously submitted two sets of public comments relating to the draft critical minerals list – the first identifying a group of “gateway” metals critical for defense applications but absent from the DOI List, and the second articulating the gateway/co-product relationships between metals and minerals on the DOI List. The articulation exercise revealed four metals and minerals absent from the DOI List which are gateways to minerals that are on the list: Copper, Zinc, Nickel and Lead. Further information on the gateway/co-product relationships between metals and minerals can be found in ARPN’s latest report.

    As the American Exploration & Mining Association correctly states, the Administration is “on the right track to recognize the importance of critical minerals in the American Economy. However, the time is ripe to complete the task and end our foreign dependence when we are ready to responsibly mine here at home. $9.2 Billion and 16,500 jobs are waiting to be unleashed benefiting rural economies.”

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  • 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 [...]
  • Materials Science Profiles of Progress: CMI Public-Private Partnership Studies New Ways to Capture Gateway Metals and Critical Co-Products

    As part of our latest feature series “Materials Science Profiles of Progress,” in the context of which we highlight positive steps towards the development of the comprehensive mineral resource strategy our country is so sorely lacking, we’re zeroing in on a promising public private partnership that recently celebrated its first birthday. In October of last [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Advances in Materials Science Warrant Rethink in Resource Policy

    We appreciate them for their traditional applications, but metals like Copper and Tin are far more than your mainstay materials.  We discussed their Gateway Metal status here, but it’s not just the fact that their development yields access to some of the most sought-after tech metals that makes them so indispensible – it’s advances in materials [...]
  • Rhenium: “Alien Technology” Underscores Importance of Gateway Metals and Co-Products

    At ARPN, we have consistently highlighted the importance of Gateway Metals, which are materials that are not only critical to manufacturing and national security in their own right, but also “unlock” tech metals increasingly important to innovation and technological development. With advancements in materials science, these co-products, many of which have unique properties lending themselves [...]
  • EPA Settlement on Pebble Deposit Positive Development for Due Process Advocates

    A few years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a splash when it took unprecedented early action in an effort to derail the development of one of the largest domestic deposits of key strategic mineral resources (Copper, Molybdenum, Gold, Silver and Rhenium) – the so-called Pebble Deposit in Southwestern Alaska.  In spite of the fact [...]
  • As Resource Dependence Deepens, Miners Pivot Back to U.S. For Exploration

    Against the backdrop of market prices recovering and supply woes looming, mining companies are expected to increase spending on exploration for the first time in five years, reports news agency Reuters. In what may spell good news for the United States, analysts anticipate the biggest expenditure increases to occur in the United States, Canada and Australia, all [...]

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