American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • AEMA Website Gets Fresh Look

    Our friends at the American Exploration and Mining Association (AEMA), headed up by Laura Skaer, have overhauled their website. 

    The “122-year old, 2,000 member, national association representing the minerals industry” and the “entire mining life cycle” shares news about its mission and advocacy efforts, and provides information about annual meetings as well as facts about modern mining, among other things, at www.miningamerica.com.

    If you have a moment to spare, go take a look, it’s worth browsing a little. 

  • Critical Materials Institute Meets “Stretch Goal” to Produce REE Magnet Domestically

    Meeting one of its “stretch goal[s] to demonstrate that rare-earth magnets could be produced from mine to manufacturer, here in the United States,” the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) a U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Hub, has announced that the has fabricated magnets made entirely of domestically sourced and refined REEs. 

    This success was achieved in the context of public private partnerships CMI has engaged in to further its mission. According to CMI’s press release, the Idaho National Laboratory, a CMI member institution, sourced the raw materials and refined the oxides, while a CMI Industry member, Infinium, produced metal ingot from those oxides. Further processing work was completed at Ames Laboratory, CMI’s home research institution.  

    Says CMI Director Alex King: 

    “We were asked if it was still possible to make these magnets entirely within the U.S., now that magnet manufacturing has very largely moved overseas. This proves that we can apply advanced tools and technologies developed in the U.S. to get the job done – do it quickly, and do it rather more efficiently than it is being done elsewhere.”

    As ARPN followers will know, REEs have not only become indispensable components of our hi-tech items ranging from smart phones over computers to televisions, they are also of critical importance for the proper function of many clean energy and defense technology components. Meanwhile, China has long held a near-total REE supply monopoly. While for a few short years, a now-bankrupt North American mining company sourced REEs domestically, thereby reducing our import reliance for REEs (with the lowest degree of net import reliance pegged at 63% in 2013), we are now once more 100% reliant on foreign imports to meet domestic REE needs.  

    As such, CMI’s current REE work and other public-private partnerships the institute has entered into are highly relevant, and tie into the overall context of process improvements allowing for the extraction of minerals from unconventional sources. As Dan McGroarty explained in his most recent Congressional testimony before a U.S. Senate committee:

    “Without in any way diminishing the dangers of our resource dependency (…) These are advances arising out of necessity – the need to efficiently extract minerals from low-grade deposits. In some cases, this effort is driving process improvements that point to the ability to extract minerals from unconventional sources, feedstocks if you will. I’m talking about historic mine waste piles, eWaste, and potentially and perhaps most interesting, extracting rare metals from coal deposits.”

    While these are steps in the right direction, more needs to be done. “[A]t a time when state-backed enterprises from China and Russia are focused on locking up metals and mineral deposits worldwide,” we need a comprehensive and strategic approach to mineral resource security.

    The bottom line according to McGroarty is this:

     ”If we are serious about ensuring U.S. military power and reviving American manufacturing, we must reverse the deep dependency on foreign metals and minerals, and treat American resource security with the same seriousness – and one would hope, the same success – as our approach to American energy security.”

  • Africa Taking Center Stage in China’s Quest for Resources

    It is “the single largest source of mineral commodities for the United States, particularly for resources like rare earth elements, germanium, and industrial diamonds,” according to the United States Geological Survey, which notes in its most recent Mineral Commodity Summaries report that “of the 47 mineral commodities that the United States is more than 50 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • The Arctic – A Looming Battlefield for Resource Supremacy?

    While relations between Russia and the United States continue to make headlines on a daily basis, one particular aspect of this relationship – in spite of the fact that it may be one of the most contentious ones – has been largely flying under the radar. As Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin recently wrote: [...]
  • Urban Mining – No Panacea but Important Piece of the Resource Strategy Puzzle

    Advances in materials science continue to transform the way we use metals and minerals, and in doing so, also change the supply and demand scenarios for many materials. As we recently pointed out on the ARPN blog, demand for Cobalt has been soaring thanks to its applications in battery technology and the growing popularity of electronic [...]
  • Cobalt Demand on the Rise – But What About Supply?

    Once an obscure metal most people had rarely heard about, Cobalt, a co-product of Nickel and Copper, is becoming a hot commodity and is increasingly afforded “critical mineral” status. The main reason for this development is Cobalt’s application in Lithium-ion battery technology. Soaring demand for rechargeable batteries and the growing popularity of electric cars have sent the [...]
  • Critical Materials Institute Head Puts Apple’s Goal to Stop Mining in Context

    Recently, tech giant Apple made a bit of a splash with the announcement of a lofty sustainability goal — one the company itself is not sure how to achieve yet. Kicking off its new Environmental Responsibility Report with the question “Can we one day stop mining the Earth altogether?,” Apple commits itself to working towards a “closed-loop supply chain, where [...]
  • EVENT: Experts to Discuss Critical Mineral Supply Chains and Energy Storage Revolution

    Our friends at Benchmark Minerals are back in town and they’ve done it again: The team led by Benchmark Minerals Managing Director and ARPN expert panel member Simon Moores has once more put together a great lineup for a half-day event in Washington, DC this Wednesday. Speakers like David Abraham, Director of the Technology, Rare [...]