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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • McGroarty before U.S. Senate Committee: “Increased Resource Dependence Jeopardizes U.S. Economic Strength and Manufacturing Might”

    In his testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on “the Near-Term Outlook for Energy and Commodities Markets” last week, ARPN Principal Daniel McGroarty argues that while in the long-run, the market is self-corrective, there are certain actions that should be taken while we wait for that long-run to arrive if the U.S. wants to regain its economic strength and manufacturing might.

    McGroarty points to the risks associated with our growing – and largely self-inflicted – dependence on foreign-sourced minerals and metals which have “implications for the strength of the American economic recovery, for the revival of U.S. manufacturing might, and for the hoped-for dominance of U.S. ingenuity and enterprise in the advanced technology applications that we know are shaping the world of the 21s Century.”

    He argues that if the United States continues down the current path of reducing exploration spending while prolonging the already onerous permitting process for mining projects, resource development, and with that associated manufacturing, will move elsewhere.

    Outlining several helpful first steps to mitigate these risks, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) American Mineral Security Act, he concludes:

    “I don’t think there’s another nation in the world that can match American ingenuity.  We can pioneer the ideas behind wind and solar and so much else – but where will the materials that make these new energy sources real – where will they come from?

    How we answer that question will determine to a large extent whether the U.S. can regain its manufacturing might…  Whether America will lead the alternative energy revolution…  And whether the U.S. will have the metals and minerals we need to provide the modern military technology we depend on.” 

    Click here to read the full written testimony.

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  • U.S. Mineral Resource Dependency Continues to Spell Trouble

    For children, it’s the arrival of the first snow each year – for policy wonks, it’s the release of an annual study.  Whereas kids run to check the window multiple times a day once snow has been forecast, policy wonks continuously check for updates on the release of that study when it’s that time of the year again.

    While kids on the East Coast saw their wish for snow more than fulfilled, the release of the United States Geological Survey’s annual Mineral Commodity Summaries report this week was certainly less sensational.   A quick glimpse at the summary and one of the key charts reveals that aside from a now three-toned cover page, not too much has changed over last year.

    Not surprisingly, with the global commodities market slumping, the estimated value of total non-fuel mineral production in the U.S. decreased by 3% from that of 2014. Meanwhile, in terms of foreign resource dependence, which is something on which ARPN has kept tabs with the report, the number of minerals for which the U.S. is 100% import reliant has remained constant at 19.

    However, it is context and perspective that matters, and in that sense, another USGS study that is perhaps even more instructive than this year’s Mineral Commodity Summaries has gone largely unnoticed.   As the recently-released “Comparison of U.S. net import reliance for nonfuel mineral commodities—A 60-year retrospective” shows, 30 years ago, the U.S. was 100% foreign-dependent for 11 metals and minerals.  Today, that number has increased to 19. Meanwhile, we are more than 50% import-dependent for 47 minerals in all – nearly half of the naturally-occurring elements on the Periodic Table.

    As our very own Daniel McGroarty has argued in recent testimony before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, “(…) the risks are real – with implications for the strength of the American economic recovery, for the revival of U.S. manufacturing might, and for the hoped-for dominance of U.S. ingenuity and enterprise in the advanced technology applications that we know are shaping the world of the 21s Century.” 

    The current trend towards reduced exploration spending and increased time required for the mining permitting process is already sending production of key metals and minerals overseas.  Manufacturing tends to follow and set up where the metals are.

    McGroarty’s conclusion:

    “I don’t think there’s another nation in the world that can match American ingenuity.  We can pioneer the ideas behind wind and solar and so much else – but where will the materials that make these new energy sources real – where will they come from?

    How we answer that question will determine to a large extent whether the U.S. can regain its manufacturing might…  Whether America will lead the alternative energy revolution…  And whether the U.S. will have the metals and minerals we need to provide the modern military technology we depend on.”  

    As children in Washington, DC, are finally returning to school after the historic snowfall, and Congress is back to business, one would hope that our policy makers have used their snow days to carefully review the challenges outlined by the latest USGS reports.

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  • USGS Rings Alarm Bell: United States’ Mineral Resource Dependencies Have Increased Drastically

    Without fanfare, and largely unnoticed at a time when all eyes in our nation’s political circles are on Iowa, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has released a report that should be required reading for all our policy makers. Analyzing data collected from 1954 through 2014 for more than 90 non-fuel mineral commodities from more [...]
  • U.S. Forest Service Puts Damper On New Year For Wyoming

    What could have been a great start of the year for Wyoming’s economy and the United States’ critical resource needs had the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) done its job, feels more like a hangover thanks to the agency. As Laura Skaer, executive director of the American Exploration & Mining Association, writes for the Casper Star Tribune, the [...]
  • Japan Pursuing Long-Term Critical Mineral Strategy in Kazakhstan

    In an effort to secure ongoing access to Rare Earths (REEs) for its domestic industries, Japan, which in geological terms does not have much of a resource profile, has entered into a series of cooperative agreements with Kazakhstan, a nation quickly ascending into the league of top REE suppliers in the world. The latest one [...]
  • The “Electronification of Everything” Raises Specter of “War Over the Periodic Table”

    Via our friend and ARPN expert Simon Moores’ Twitter feed, we came across a three-part must-read series for Bloomberg View, in which author and policy expert David S. Abraham discusses the role of rare earths in today’s increasingly high-tech world.   Perhaps most interestingly, Abraham clarifies a common misconception in part two of the series: “Although [...]
  • Bipartisan support strong for critical minerals reform

    In late January, I testified in support of S.1600 — the Critical Minerals Policy Act — before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Chaired by Senator Wyden and Ranking Member Murkowski. I focused on the lack of a clear definition of critical materials, on America’s inability to process many of the critical materials [...]
  • Bipartisan critical minerals bill introduced in U.S. Senate

    A group of seventeen U.S. senators has introduced legislation aimed at addressing the United States’ mineral supply issues. The bill, titled Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013, was put forth by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and the Ranking Member of the committee, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), both of whom were [...]
  • “A case study in critical metals inaction” – ARPN’s McGroarty on Rhenium

    In a new piece for Investor Intel, our very own Dan McGroarty sounds the alarm on a little-noticed but troubling passage in the U.S. House-passed Defense Authorization Act for 2014.  Said section in Title III acknowledges the importance of Tungsten and Molybdenum powders, including Tungsten Rhenium (WRe) wire to a variety of Department of Defense [...]
  • U.S. Chamber supports strategic metals bill

    Bearing testimony to the fact that access to critical mineral supplies is a key issue for our U.S. domestic business and manufacturing base, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Rep. Mark Amodei’s (R, Nev.) “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013” (H.R. 761) Citing the Behre Dolbear report we have frequently invoked [...]

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