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  • Happy Birthday, America – Onward to Resource Independence Day?

    It’s that time of the year again – we load up our shopping carts with fireworks and burger buns, and gear up for parades to honor of the men and women who have fought, and continue our safeguard our freedom today. Many of us will have already traveled this week – and according to AAA, a record-breaking 46.9 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more away from home this Independence Day holiday.

    Holiday travel, as much fun as it can be, is often fraught with a certain level frustration, some of which may be owed to our crumbling infrastructure. Bridges, roads and highways have become the poster child – but they’re only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

    As ARPN’s Dan McGroarty wrote last year:

    “[t]oday, our infrastructure extends to the national power grid — currently a patchwork of lines, nodes and often antique switching towers we rely on to move energy to where we need it — to the internet itself, which has a physicality we easily overlook in this Age of the Cloud and Wireless. These systems, marvels that they are, come closer to tin-can-and-string contraptions than the modern version we would build if we began the work today.”

    Threats against our infrastructure, as we pointed out previously, are as diverse as they are real, and dealing with them requires a comprehensive approach.

    “Securing access to Copper, Graphite, Cobalt, Manganese, and Rhenium may not be the first things that come to mind when we think critical infrastructure protection – but they, and many other tech metals and minerals, have to be on our shopping list if we’re serious about a 21st Century infrastructure that is competitive and can withstand threats from the outside and within.”

    All of which brings us back to our Independence Day theme. Over the past few years, we have used the occasion of Independence Day to remind ourselves that “while we cherish the freedom we are blessed with in so many ways, we must not become complacent, as there are areas where we’re increasingly becoming less independent” – with our reliance on foreign mineral resources being a case in point.

    We point now as in years past to a troubling trend, as for decades, our reliance on foreign non-fuel minerals has significantly increased both in terms of number and type, as well as percentage of import reliance.

    Thankfully, this year’s narrative may be changing, as a comprehensive effort to reduce our often unnecessary and largely homemade mineral import dependence is underway. The recently-released Department of Interior list of 35 metals and minerals deemed critical for our national security is a good starting point,as is the attachment of the Amodei critical minerals bill as an amendment to the 2018/2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate has since passed NDAA language which excludes the Amodei amendment.

    As the latest Senate developments show, much will depend on how policy makers and stakeholders follow through on their commitments. Paying mere lip service to previously stated lofty goals will not suffice. We can neither maintain our modern economy nor rebuild our infrastructure without a steady supply of metals and minerals. There are several reasons why we will likely never achieve full resource independence – but that does not mean we shouldn’t strive towards reducing policy barriers to the responsible harnessing of our domestic resources.

    As Dan McGroarty put it several years ago:

    “Those we do not possess here at home, we must source from other countries. But those we possess but choose not to produce perpetuate a needless foreign dependence – leverage that other nations may well use to America’s disadvantage.”

    On the eve of this year’s Independence Day, the momentum for meaningful policy reform is finally here — and too much is at stake to let it slip.

  • 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.

  • “From Bad to Worse” – Why the Current Focus on Critical Minerals Matters

    Earlier this spring, the Department of the Interior released its finalized Critical Minerals List.  Jeffery Green, president and founder of government relations firm J.A. Green & Company and member of the ARPN panel of experts reminded us in a recent piece for Defense News why the current focus on our over-reliance on foreign mineral resources [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • McGroarty for IBD: “Time to Make the Connection Between Critical Minerals and National Defense”

    “For want of a nail … the kingdom was lost” Invoking the old proverb dating back to the 13th Century as a cautionary tale and reminder that “the most sophisticated defense supply chain is only as strong as our weakest link,” ARPN’s Dan McGroarty argues in a new piece for Investor’s Business Daily that the [...]
  • 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 [...]