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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • ARPN’s McGroarty for The Hill: With USMCA, Time to Take Strategic North American Alliance to the Next Level Has Arrived

    “Now that President Trump has won agreement to replace NAFTA with the USMCA — the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement — he has an opportunity to build on that accomplishment, and broaden the benefits of trade to strengthen national security,” writes ARPN Principal Daniel McGroarty in a new op-ed for The Hill.

    The next step, says McGroarty, would be the harnessing of “all the resources in North America, the full critical mineral and metals supply chains, to take manufacturing to a new level, and safeguard access to raw materials that are integral to the defense industrial base.”

    His assessment follows on the heels of the just-released Defense Industrial Base Report the classified version of which details almost 300 defense supply chain vulnerabilities and sounds the alarm on our over-reliance on foreign – and mostly Chinese – mineral resources, which represents a “significant and growing risk to the supply of materials deemed strategic and critical to U.S. national security.”

    McGroarty outlines three immediate steps the United States should take to alleviate these risks:

    1. Revitalizing the National Technology Industrial Base (NTIB) between the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia,
    2. signing USMCA Critical Mineral Defense Supply Chain Agreements to create a “North American common front on critical minerals” which harnesses “cross-border collaboration on critical mineral production and advanced materials processing;” and
    3. ending the aluminum and steel tariffs on our USMCA partners to ensure that “the U.S. defense supply chain is once again fully integrated across North America” and to reaffirm the importance of an integrated U.S.-Canadian Defense Industrial Base which rests on nearly 80 years of deep defense cooperation.

    These steps, he says, are “essential if the U.S. is to counter China’s economic aggression.”

    The question is, will stakeholders use the momentum generated by the new trade agreement to “take the strategic North American alliance to a new level?

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  • Squaring the Circle – The Circular Economy, Urban Mining and Mineral Resource Policy

    As Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission for energy policy outlined earlier this month in a video clip, pursuing the vision of a closed-loop circular economy is one of the core tenets of EU resource policy.

    The concept of a circular economy — a system which thrives on sustainability and focuses mainly on refining design production and recycling to ensure that little to no waste results — is not new, but with technological advances and against the backdrop of an increasingly interconnected world has gained traction in recent years.

    In an effort to explore the application of the concept to the mineral resource sector, Chris Lo, writing for Mining-Technology.com, asked earlier this year:

    “How does a global society, one that is as dependent as ever on key industrial metals to feed into the production of basic products and high-tech gadgets, begin to square this circle?” One piece of the puzzle, he pointed out, lies in the “opposite end of the supply chain to the exploration and production activities that occupy the mining sector.”

    He writes:

    “More extensive recycling of waste metal could bring incredible sustainability benefits, from saving energy and water to avoiding excessive environmental impacts from primary production.” Thankfully, many metals and minerals lend themselves to supporting the concept of a circular economy in light of their properties.  Copper, for example, can be recycled infinitely without losing any of its qualities (for a visual example, see this infographic on Copper’s contribution to Europe’s Circular Economy).

    As we have previously outlined, urban mining, the process of “reclaiming resources from products, buildings and waste” which are often “consumed and disposed of in urban areas, transforming cities into resource ‘mines’ which could be sourced for secondary resources to be reintegrated back into the supply chain” is increasingly becoming an important component of comprehensive mineral resource policy.

    However, while in the long-run, a closed-loop circular economy may be feasible, we are nowhere near that point.

    Says Lo:

    “In a perfect world, society’s consumption of mining products would be a closed loop, with all metals recycled into new products and the mining industry stepping in to extract new commodities to make up for metal dissipation and demand growth. Ours is far from a perfect world, however, and such a comprehensive recycling system – if it is even technically feasible – is a long way off.”Indeed, recovering tech and precious metals from consumer electronics remains fraught with challenges.  Meanwhile, research to improve mining processing techniques and recovery and reclamation of materials are well underway.

    We pointed to two examples last year:

    “Researchers at the International Islamic University Malaysia published their findings on the development of a new way to ‘extract the lithium and the cobalt that make up the bulk of the metal components of [rechargeable] batteries.’

    Closer to home — in the U.S., that is — there is the current collaboration between the Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Institute (CMI) and Rio Tinto, one strand of which is exploring better methods of extracting critical metals from eWaste.”

    Other promising research efforts are underway in research hubs all over the world. Progress on various fronts not withstanding, however, we stand by our conclusion from last year:

    “Urban mining will by no means obviate the need for traditional mining and is as such not a panacea for supply woes.  With innovations in the field and concerted efforts to not only improve extraction technologies, but to also develop products and materials in ways that lend themselves to easier reclamation of metals, it does, however, represent a viable opportunity to alleviate pressures – and as such deserves to be factored into any comprehensive mineral resource strategy.”

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  • European Union Pushes Ahead With Attempt to Create Battery Manufacturing Value Chain in Europe

    While the United States is finally taking steps to approach mineral resource policy in a comprehensive and strategic fashion, the European Union got a head start several years ago, and has since begun enacting mineral resource policy initiatives within the context of its raw materials strategy.  With its ambitious 2050 low-carbon vision, and the rise [...]
  • A View From Across the Pond: European Resource Policy Through the Prism of a Low-Carbon Vision

    The recently-released Defense Industrial Base study, which once more has underscored the need for a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. resource policy, directed its focus on U.S. competitiveness primarily vis-à-vis China. Already vast and resource-rich, the country has demonstrated an insatiable appetite for the world’s mineral resources and has pursued an aggressive strategy to gain access [...]
  • Beyond Golf Clubs and Aircraft – “Critical Minerals Alaska” Zeroes in on Titanium 

    In the latest installment of his “Critical Minerals Alaska” series for North of Sixty Mining News, Shane Lasley zeroes in on Titanium – an “abundant element that has become an important industrial commodity only within the past 150 years,” according to USGS. As Lasley writes, “Titanium conjures images of the durable and lightweight metal used to build aircraft, replacement hips, [...]
  • New NMA Infographic Visualizes Impact of Overreliance on Foreign Minerals

    The long-awaited Defense Industrial Base report is ringing the alarm on supply chain vulnerabilities for the defense sector. As followers of ARPN will know, some aspects of the issues outlined in the report could be alleviated if the United States had a comprehensive mineral resource strategy and streamlined, updated permitting system for domestic mining projects [...]
  • ARPN Expert Panel Member: Defense Industrial Base Report “A Significant Step Forward for the U.S. Military”

    With the long-awaited Defense Industrial Base report finally released, analysts have begun pouring over the 146-pages-long document. One of the first issue experts to offer commentary in a national publication was Jeff Green, president of Washington, D.C.-based government relations firm J.A. Green & Company, and member of the ARPN panel of experts. Writing for Defense [...]
  • Long-Awaited Defense Industrial Base Report Unveils Significant Strategic Vulnerabilities, Holds Major Implications for Resource Policy

    While September coverage for our blog mostly revolved around two major story lines, i.e. electronic vehicles battery tech and trade, today’s release of the long-awaited Defense Industrial Base Report will likely change this for October — for good reasons. As Peter Navarro, assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing policy, outlines today in a [...]
  • Exemptions from U.S. China-directed Tariff List Speak to “Strategic Vulnerabilities” in Resource Realm

    Last month, we highlighted how the exclusion of Rare Earths from the list of tariffs to be imposed on Chinese goods released by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) earlier this summer spoke to the growing awareness of their strategic importance in the United States. However, Rare Earths were not the only items [...]
  • Vanadium’s Time to Shine?

    Steve LeVine, Future Editor at Axios and Senior Fellow at The Atlantic Council, has called it “one of the most confounding areas of research” and a “technology that, while invented more than two centuries ago, is still frustrating scientists.”   It is also one of the areas where one of the key growth industries – [...]

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