-->
American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Addressing a Piece of the Mineral Resource Puzzle – Federal Land Withdrawals

    As followers of ARPN know, the United States has finally embarked on a quest to look for ways to reduce its over-reliance on foreign mineral resources, and in doing so, reduce the leverage it has yielded to nations like China over our national security.

    In a new series for the Capital Research Center, geologist and ARPN expert panel member Ned Mamula, who last year authored “Groundbreaking! America’s New Quest for Mineral Independence,” takes a look a potential piece of the puzzle – federal land withdrawals from access to exploration and mining, the scope of which he says “are not well understood.”

    In four installments, Mamula discusses how public land withdrawal is “endangering the nation,” how we “overdrew our mineral account”, where lands were withdrawn, and how we can “secure our mineral future.”

    Figure 1. General Locations of Major Metals Operations in the United States. Locations include mines producing gold, silver, copper, molybdenum, platinum, lead, zinc, iron, titanium, magnesium, beryllium, and other metals. Source: National Mining Association and U.S. Geological Survey.

    Writes Mamula:

    “We need a groundbreaking compromise so mining can begin again without disrupting areas that should never be disturbed because of their unique national identity and cultural importance. The mineral industry will need to and has already accepted reasonable conditions on its activities. Likewise, preservationists and others must accept the fact that somewhere in that million-acre wilderness area, there is going to be a mine. The mining industry is being squeezed more so than its opponents because the location of ore bodies is immovable. Boundaries of withdrawn land can be adjusted, not the location of mineral deposits. When the right choices are made—both sides win.”

    However, he worries that it may already be too late to completely rectify the situation:

    “The consequences of withdrawing federal lands from mineral exploration and mining have not been fully appreciated by policymakers because the results of their decisions—and those of their predecessors—may take decades to be felt. No one can predict the future, especially regarding the ever-increasing speed of the development and needs of technology and its associated minerals, manufacturing improvements, and global energy requirements.

    Yet previous withdrawals were done cavalierly and without due regard to a comprehensive approach to resource management. Today, the nation is finally feeling the cumulative effect of all previous withdrawal actions as mineral imports hit record highs year over year.”

    An all-of-the-above approach to mineral resource policy, for which ARPN principal Daniel McGroarty has advocated, should encompass a prudent review of federal land withdrawals.

    The presidential impeachment trial may be sucking up all the oxygen in Washington, DC, and dominating the media nationwide, but policy makers would be well-advised not to neglect our mineral resource dependencies, which were finally being recognized as a serious issue on both sides of the political aisle.

    As ARPN’s McGroarty recently noted during a panel discussion:

    “We can’t admire the problem anymore. We don’t have the luxury of time.”

    ***

    For more from Ned Mamula, read his four-piece series “Russia’s Uranium Gambit: An Underappreciated Energy Source”  , and his four-piece series on Rare Earths entitled “America’s Rare Earth Ultimatum: Rare Earths in High Demand.”

    Share
  • U.S.-Canadian Critical Minerals Collaboration Moves Into Next Round

    It’s official.

    On January 9, 2020, the governments of the United States and Canada formally announced the finalization of the Canada-U.S. Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration to advance “our mutual interest in securing supply chains for the critical minerals needed for important manufacturing sectors, including communication technology, aerospace and defence, and clean technology.”

    During their meeting in June 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had resolved to collaborate to “ensure reliable supplies of rare earths and critical minerals.” The subsequently-created U.S.-Canada Critical Minerals Working Group tasked with developing the joint action plan had its first meeting in October, and finalized its work in December. 

    According to the official news release issued by the Canadian government, 

    “[t]he Action Plan will guide cooperation in areas such as industry engagement; efforts to secure critical minerals supply chains for strategic industries and defence; improving information sharing on mineral resources and potential; and cooperation in multilateral fora and with other countries. This Action Plan will promote joint initiatives, including research and development cooperation, supply chain modelling and increased support for industry.

    Experts from both countries will convene in the coming weeks to advance joint initiatives to address shared mineral security concerns — helping ensure the continued economic growth and national security of both Canada and the U.S.”

    The announcement ties into the overall context of the U.S. making strides towards embracing an “all-of-the-above” approach we’ve come to know from the energy policy discourse – in the context of working toward “resource independence,” a focus on new mining, recycling and reclamation of new minerals from old mine tailings and close partnerships with allies.  It could not come at a better point in time, because in spite of an ever-deepening partisan divide on many issues in Washington, D.C., the momentum for resource policy reform appears to be growing on both sides of the political aisle as recent official Congressional proceedings have shown.

    Our long-standing over-reliance on mineral resource supplies from countries like China has — often unnecessarily — given our adversaries significant leverage over our national security.  

    In 2020, we expect policy stakeholders to continue to advance international critical minerals collaboration as part of an overall push to reduce this leverage, and we’ll be keeping tabs on these efforts on our blog. 

    Share
  • 2020 – A Twofold Watershed Year for Rare Earths?

    Against the backdrop of the recently-signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) for critical materials between the U.S. and Canada to reduce U.S. reliance on Chinese Rare Earths supplies, and the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which  “has expanded its recognition of the critical importance of the rare earths” … “2020 looks to be a [...]
  • 2019 in Review – Towards an “All-Of-The-Above” Approach in Mineral Resource Policy?

    We blinked, and 2020 is knocking on our doors. It’s been a busy year on many levels, and mineral resource policy is no exception. So without further ado, here’s our ARPN Year in Review. Where we began: In last year’s annual recap, we had labeled 2018 as a year of incremental progress, which had set [...]
  • Sustainably Greening the Future – Changes in Mining Technology for the New Decade

    Irrespective of where you come down on the political spectrum, there is no denying that we find ourselves in the midst of a green energy transition. At ARPN, we have long made the case that the current push towards a lower-carbon future is not possible without mining, as green energy technology relies heavily on a [...]
  • Trade Publication Zeroes in on Over-Reliance on Critical Minerals, Cites ARPN’s McGroarty

    Against the backdrop of the upcoming two-year anniversary of the Presidential Executive Order on Critical Minerals, trade publication Industry Week discusses the issue of U.S. over-reliance on foreign mineral resources in its latest issue. Recounting some of the key steps taken by the federal government in recent months – i.e. last year’s  Department of the Interior [...]
  • Tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 10 – U.S. House Committee to Hold Hearing on “Research and Innovation to Address the Critical Materials Challenge”

    On Tuesday, December 10 — close to the two-year anniversary of the White House’s executive order “to develop a federal strategy to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals” the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on “Research and Innovation to Address the Critical Materials Challenge.” The hearing comes against the backdrop of increased [...]
  • Australia to Implement Reforms to Support Critical Minerals Partnership With U.S.

    Earlier last month, Australia’s Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan touted the recently-formalized critical minerals partnership with the United States to counter China’s stranglehold on mineral resource supply in an op-ed for The Australian. In it, he stressed the importance of “developing mature and diverse supply chains of minerals critical to modern life”: [...]
  • Time to Reduce Our Reliance on “Untrustworthy Countries for Strategically Important Minerals”

    As we recover from collective food coma and return to our desks after a tumultuous Thanksgiving travel week, J. Winston Porter, a former EPA assistant administrator in Washington, reminds us of the importance of keeping the focus on the issues associated with our over-reliance on foreign mineral resources.    In a new piece for InsideSources, Porter [...]
  • U.S. and Australia Formalize Critical Minerals Partnership

    The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has signed a project agreement with its Australian counterpart, GeoScience Australia, to jointly develop a “better understanding of both countries’ critical mineral reserves.”  The agreement is the result of ongoing agency-level talks between the United States and Australia and the recent announcement of a forthcoming formal roll out of an “action [...]

Archives