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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Mineral Resource Policy Reform Through the Prism of Our Nation’s Crumbling Infrastructure

    In the past few months, we have seen indications for a growing awareness of the need for mineral resource policy reform. Much emphasis has —rightfully — been placed on the national security aspects of our over-reliance on foreign mineral resources, as well as the nascent realization that the pursuit of the green energy transition is not feasible without critical minerals.

    In a recent piece for the Rockland County Times, Tom Madison, executive director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy zeroes in on the issue from another angle. He writes:

    “Mining may not always be front of mind when thinking about roadways and water systems, but addressing our infrastructure challenges simply cannot be accomplished without an efficient, responsive U.S. mining industry. The minerals and metals necessary to improve our vast array of infrastructure is truly dizzying: Millions of tons of steel to reinforce highways and erect towering bridges, silver to support aging water treatment systems, copper to conduct power across a vast web of transmission lines, and molybdenum to strengthen and enhance structural alloys. Minerals, metals, aggregates, and other resources from American mines are the essential ingredients that comprise and support the construction supplies and methods that build and maintain our infrastructure.”

    While not new — ARPN’s Dan McGroarty explored the issue in a 2017 piece for Investor’s Business Daily explaining that “there’s more to the infrastructure story than cement trucks and Jersey Barriers” — it is an angle that should not be forgotten in the current discourse.

    Striking a theme familiar to followers of ARPN, the comparison with fellow mining nations Canada and Australia, Madison argues that permitting reform for mining projects should be high on Congress’s priority list:

    “Securing a new mining permit in Canada and Australia—nations with environmental safeguards comparable to our own—takes just two to three years. The U.S. average is seven years or more. It’s no wonder that, despite America’s incredible $6.2 trillion in mineral reserves, mining investment is fleeing to other nations. In 1990, 20 percent of all global mining investment flowed into the U.S. Today, it’s only 8 percent. (…)

    Addressing America’s crumbling infrastructure simply can’t wait any longer. We need fundamental changes to the way we fund, finance, supply, and deliver projects. Including meaningful mine permitting reforms in upcoming infrastructure legislation will be enormously beneficial.”

    And while national security and renewable energy are known to invite partisan bickering, the understanding that there is an urgent need to tackle infrastructure reform transcends party lines – or, as Dan McGroarty phrased it, “[i]n a time of when partisan rancor has reached record levels, infrastructure stands alone as a bipartisan refuge — one issue both parties can agree on.”

    As Madison concludes:

    “Let’s leverage this opportunity to self-supply a majority of the raw materials we need to rebuild our infrastructure, stanch the flow of foreign mineral imports, and keep American taxpayer dollars here at home.”

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  • U.S. To Partner With Australia on Critical Minerals R&D

    During an industry event in Melbourne, Australian Resources Minister Matt Canavan announced that Australia and the United States are going to sign a preliminary agreement to foster mineral research and development cooperation between the two countries.

    The announcement comes on the heels of the release of U.S. Department of Interior’s list of 35 metals and minerals deemed critical to U.S. national security and the economy. Speaking before the Melbourne Mining Club, Canavan said:

    “For 14 of those 35 critical minerals, we are in the top five (holders) of world reserves, so they are the ones we’d like to focus on.” 

    Under the agreement, Geoscience Australia will work closely with its U.S. counterpart USGS in the areas of extraction and processing, as well as research and development.

    Canavan expects to speak with U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke as early as Thursday of this week.

    Against the backdrop of the United States’ ever-growing over-reliance on minerals from nations who are arguably not our best trading partners, the forthcoming agreement with Australia is a welcome development. It could also serve as a precursor to deepening and revitalizing the National Technology Industrial Base (NTIB), which, established in the 1990s to foster technology links between the U.S. and Canada, was expanded in 2016 to include Australia and the UK.  As ARPN’s principal Dan McGroarty pointed out in a new piece for The Hill, this “four country economic colossus (…) constitutes a vast reservoir of economic might to draw on for collective security” and also hosts “production or known resources of all 35 of the minerals and metals on the U.S. Government’s newly-established Critical Minerals List.”

    Increased cooperation with friends and allies is, however, only one piece of the resource policy puzzle.

    ARPN followers know that much of the United States’ resource dependence is home-grown, as we are blessed to have vast mineral resources beneath our own soil.  It is time to break with failed policies of the past.  The release of the list of 35 critical minerals was a good first step, however, the next ones will be far more important, and paying mere lip service to previously stated lofty goals will no longer suffice.

    The stakes are too high.

    We have previously argued that there are several reasons why we will likely never achieve full resource independence – and for the metals and minerals we do not possess here at home, we must source from other countries, which is why this cooperative agreement with Australia is commendable.  However, we must at the same time work towards reducing policy barriers to the responsible harnessing of our domestic resources, as “those those we possess but choose not to produce perpetuate a needless foreign dependence – leverage that other nations may well use to America’s disadvantage.”

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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, [...]
  • ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty in the Wall Street Journal

    ARPN’s Dan McGroarty reports a worrisome development in the saga of EPA’s unprecedented use of pre-emptive veto power to stop Alaska’s proposed Pebble Mine even before a mine plan is presented for review: Anti-mining activists are urging EPA to dust off its veto pen again. And again. Noting a common thread between new pushes for [...]
  • Why Tungsten should be on your critical minerals watch list

    In a comprehensive interview with The Metals Report, analyst Mark Seddon explains why Tungsten should be on people’s watch list, or, as the interview headline suggests: “Why you should look twice at an ugly duckling metal.” Like some of the other critical metals and minerals we have covered on our blog – Antimony and Cobalt come to mind – Tungsten [...]
  • A plea for mineral permitting reform

    If you think hard enough, you can find something wrong with anything. Case in point: If there’s anything remotely wrong with having an op-ed appear in the Wall Street Journal, it’s that, for some topics, sometimes 750 words just isn’t enough. So I’ll step back here to the Internet for a bit of prequel and [...]
  • American Resources Principal discusses mineral resource supply issues in context of White House initiatives in Wall Street Journal

    In a column for the Wall Street Journal, American Resources Policy Network president Dan McGroarty acknowledges some positive signs coming from the Obama Administration indicating an increased focus on access to critical metals and minerals, but underscores that the “situation is actually more acute.” Citing General Electric as an example of a manufacturer that uses [...]
  • Op-ed: America’s Growing Minerals Deficit

    The following op-ed by American Resources Principal Dan McGroarty was published in the Wall Street Journal on January 31, 2013. The original text can be found here. America’s Growing Minerals Deficit The U.S. is now tied for last, with Papua New Guinea, in the time it takes to get a permit for a new mine. By [...]
  • American Resources principal discusses critical and strategic minerals with Juneau Empire

    Leading up to last Friday’s second Alaska Strategic and Critical Minerals Summit in Fairbanks, the Juneau Empire spoke with our very own Dan McGroarty, who had the honor to present alongside many distinguished members of Alaska’s State government and private sector representatives. The Juneau Empire’s Russell Stigall has summarized their conversation in an article highlighting [...]
  • Dan McGroarty featured on Lars Larson Show, PayneNation

    American Resources Principal Dan McGroarty appeared on the Lars Larson show and Charles Payne’s PayneNation to discuss the EPA’s latest bid to stop the prospective Pebble Mine in Alaska before the project has a chance to be reviewed. Check out the interviews below.

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