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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Arvida, Quebec – Putting a Face on the Specter of Trade War Over Aluminum and Steel

    Last month, our very own Dan McGroarty argued in a piece for Investor’s Business Daily that the escalation of the trade war over U.S.-imposed trade tariffs on Canadian made aluminum and steel has serious implications not only for our economy, but also for the U.S. defense industrial base.  In it, he outlined the genesis of the United States’ special relationship with our neighbors to the North with whom we share “the world’s most integrated defense industrial base.”

    Via a recent Bloomberg story, we are getting a glimpse into what this U.S.- Canadian “symbiosis” looks like.  Danielle Bochove reports from Arvida, Quebec, home to a giant smelter built by Americans that supplied most of the Allied forces’ aluminum in World War II.  Today, as part of the “2.5 million metric tons that Canada sends over the border each year,” the very same smelter provides U.S. beer makers with metal used in their cans, U.S. automakers with the metal used in their cars, and the U.S. military with the metal used in its weaponry.

    Writes Bochove:

    “The Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region is part of a cross-border ecosystem that supplies almost half of the aluminum used in the U.S., including the metal found in three out of four American cars. Arvida is the epicenter. Built in 1926 by Alcoa President Arthur Vining Davis, the town is an acronym of the American industrialist’s name. One of the earliest examples of a company town, Arvida has been absorbed into the city of Saguenay, but its main street remains vibrant and the original architecture largely intact.”

    Retracing the history of the smelter which has supplied thousands local jobs over course of the last century, during which it was hit by the Depression, “reborn” during World War II and saw ebbing and flowing concurrent with global market developments as well as the 2007 takeover by Rio Tinto, Bochove says the industry’s influence can be seen and felt everywhere:

    “From 1926 to 1960, only Alcan employees were eligible to serve as city counselors in Arvida, said Bruno Fradette, an amateur historian and third-generation employee. In a tour of the town, he pointed out examples of its American heritage. Buildings and roads are named after American founders, and the main street is lined with posters celebrating its aluminum history.

    When Rio [Tinto, ] took over, local sentiment swung from pride in ownership to pride over the asset’s environmental sustainability, Mayor Neron said. Aluminum has long provided high-quality jobs in Saguenay, but initiatives—including a recent push with Apple Inc. to make the metal without greenhouse gases—have the potential to further increase quality. Residents already refer to the region’s product as ‘green aluminum,’ she said, because processing is powered by Quebec’s abundant hydroelectricity.”

    In response to the U.S.-imposed tariffs, Canada imposed retaliatory tariffs on US exports worth 16.6 billion Canadian dollars ($12.5 billion).  While industry experts like Rio Tinto’s head of aluminum Alf Barrios believe that U.S. manufacturers ultimately have no choice but to buy from Canada, Arvida’s mayor is concerned about what the escalation of the trade war means for the region and its people.

    Writes Bochove:

    “For the mayor, the mushrooming trade tensions are depressingly familiar. Saguenay’s other original economic base, pulp and paper, has been devastated by decades of U.S. protectionism around softwood lumber. Neron’s fear is that aluminum will follow.”

    To read the full piece, click here.

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  • Full Senate Committee to Examine DOI Critical Minerals List and U.S. Mineral Resource Dependence

    Bearing testimony to the growing importance assigned to the issue of critical minerals, the full U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing to “examine the Department of the Interior’s final list of critical minerals for 2018 and opportunities to strengthen the United States’ mineral security” on Tuesday, July 17, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. EST.

    The finalized list was released on May 18 pursuant to Executive Order 13817 of December 20, 2017, “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.”

    ARPN’s Dan McGroarty had submitted public comments during the official commenting period for the draft list.

    His statement on the final list can be read here.

    You can follow the hearing live on the committee’s website, where witness testimony will also be made available at the start of the hearing. Archived video will be posted shortly after the hearing concludes.

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  • “Consumption” Missing Element in Discussion over Mineral Resource Development

    You need “stuff” to make “stuff.”  It’s a simple concept, but one that is all too often forgotten. As ARPN’s Dan McGroarty wrote in a 2015 Forbes op-ed coauthored with then-CEO of mining advisory firm Behre Dolbear Karr McCurdy: “[A]s a precursor to sound policy, the nation needs a change in mind-set: It’s time to [...]
  • A “Dangerous Dependence:”  Mineral Resource Security Goes Mainstream

    In recent weeks, we have seen a flurry of articles and commentaries in national publications discussing reforms to address our ever-growing reliance on foreign mineral resources.  The two most recent examples are member of the ARPN expert panel Jeffery A. Green’s piece in Real Clear Defense entitled “Dangerous Dependence on China for Critical Minerals Runs [...]
  • Video: CMI Founding Director Reflects on Five Years of Critical Materials Research

    Video clips are a great way to ease back into the work week after a holiday.  And thankfully, the Critical Materials Institute, a Department of Energy research hub under the auspices of Ames Laboratory, has got you covered. As we recently shared, CMI Founding Director Dr. Alex King has stepped down from the post he [...]
  • 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, [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Automakers turn to U.S. Market as Potential Source of Lithium

    We’ve said it before, EV battery technology is the new black – and if the metals and minerals fueling this technology are not yet on your radar, you’ve clearly missed the memo.  Even the oil industry is coming to grips with this new reality. As our friends from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence report: “For the first [...]
  • Misconceived Notions of America’s Military Might Spell Trouble

    “We still have the most capable military in the world, but that position is increasingly in jeopardy.” That’s the sobering verdict of ret. Col. Wesley Hallman, senior vice president of policy at the National Defense Industrial Association, in a commentary for Defense News. Hallman argues that there are three misconceptions of America’s martial powers that [...]
  • “Critical Minerals Alaska” – Rising Demand and Supply Side Complications Combine as Catalysts to Establish Domestic Sources of Cobalt

    In his latest installment of “Critical Minerals Alaska” – a feature series for North of 60 Mining News that “investigates Alaska’s potential as a domestic source of minerals deemed critical to the United States,” Shane Lasley takes a closer look at Cobalt, one of the key metals underpinning the current EV technology revolution. Once an [...]

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