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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • “Can we keep U.S.-mined minerals for exclusive use in this nation?” – A question that misses the mark

    In a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, a reader from Arizona responds to American Resources Principal Daniel McGroarty’s op-ed “America’s Growing Minerals Deficit.”

    Citing Canada-based Augusta Resources’ Rosemont copper mine project in southern Arizona as an example, the reader alleges McGroarty “overlooks one very important consideration. There isn’t any assurance that the U.S.-mined minerals will be used to meet manufacturing needs in the U.S.” He sees the main conundrum in that “the copper to be mined on U.S. soil by a foreign-owned company is expected to be sent to China for smelting, then made available on the world open market.”

    In today’s globalized world, the majority of mining companies are based in other nations. The fact of the matter is that the United States benefits greatly from foreign direct investment to extract our resources. In recent years, foreign direct investment, the attraction of which is a key priority of the Obama Administration, has supported more than 2 million domestic manufacturing jobs, with workers “at majority-owned U.S. affiliates of foreign companies receiv[ing] 30% higher pay than non-FDI supported jobs.”

    As for the mining sector specifically, the National Mining Association estimates that “U.S. mining in 2010 directly and indirectly generated more than 1.98 million U.S. jobs, $119 billion in U.S. labor income, [and] $225 billion in contribution to U.S. gross domestic product.”

    There are a number of other reasons why harnessing our domestic resource potential is critical. While the “not in my backyard” crowd is quick to point to potential environmental damage associated with domestic mining, they fail to acknowledge that in order to meet domestic manufacturing needs, we otherwise have to rely on foreign imports with all strings attached – and that all too often means less stringent environmental standards or human rights abuses in supplier nations.

    Moreover, the geopolitical nature of resource policy cannot be dismissed. China’s blatant willingness to use its near-total supply monopoly for Rare Earths as a retaliatory “weapon” illustrates the pitfalls of allowing a foreign nation to effectively control the entire supply chain.

    The WSJ reader’s question of whether or not we can “keep U.S.-mined minerals for exclusive use in this nation” is besides the point – in a globalized world that cannot be, and is not the goal. But taking ourselves out of the equation and preemptively surrendering in the global race for resources by failing to develop what we’re blessed to have beneath our own soil should not be an option.

    Regardless of where resources are being sent for smelting – the bottom line is this, as Daniel McGroarty has pointed out before:”If we stagger forward with our current system, let’s be honest and open-eyed about the outcome: We will perpetuate foreign dependencies that will impair our ability to bring the manufacturing supply-chain home to American cities and towns, forfeiting jobs and GDP and adding to our outbound balance of trade transfers. We will hand to nations who do not always wish us well leverage over our economy and – in the case of the many metals required for our advanced weapons systems – our national security. And we will surrender a large portion of the innovation-driven advances in high-tech and green-tech to nations that can offer access to metals and minerals the U.S. in many instances possesses but makes it impossible to mine.”

    Is that really the future we want?

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  • American Resources experts to speak at international graphite conference

    American Resources Principal Daniel McGroarty will speak alongside fellow American Resources expert and Manager for Industrial Minerals Data, Simon Moores, at Industrial Minerals’ 2nd Graphite Conference 2012 in early December.

    In light of its traditional uses, its importance for the new Li-ion technology, and the ostensibly endless potential applications for the “new super material graphene,” the international graphite market has seen a boom in recent years. However, with China not only dominating global graphite supply but also holding all of the spherical graphite processing technology, supply issues loom large.

    The event, which will take place on Dec. 5 and 6 in London, reflects the growing relevance of graphite, and will address questions “surrounding whether or not graphite can fulfill its predicted potential as one of the most lucrative and highly used minerals of the next decade.”

    Click here for more information on the 2nd Graphite Conference 2012.

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  • Mark your calendars – Strategic Minerals Conference 2012

    If you haven’t lived under a rock lately (pun intended), you are probably aware of the fact that there is growing concern regarding the supply of mineral resources. While American Resources has consistently argued that the U.S. has subjected itself to a troubling degree of non-fuel mineral import dependency, which is often greater than our [...]
  • “Not even the likes of Jason Bourne can save us”

    In his latest RealClear World column, American Resources principal Daniel McGroarty takes on the latest book in the “Jason Bourne series” – the “Bourne Dominion.” No, you’re not on the wrong blog – this is not a book club. The plot of the book actually involves a group of terrorists set on destroying the only [...]
  • Marcus Evans Military Energy Alternatives Conference

    American Resources leader Dan McGroarty will be attending the 7th Annual Military Energy Alernatives Conference in Tysons Corner, VA on March 6-8. The conference will discuss how the Department of Defense is implementing renewable technology to achieve energy efficiency and security at the operational level, as well as how renewable energy can be applied more [...]
  • From rare earths to rare metals: Molymet takes a stake in Molycorp

    American Resources followers know their Rare Earths from their rare metals, and that distinction is key to understanding a strategic investment that’s getting a lot of attention right now: Molymet of Chile’s $390 million investment in Molycorp, the U.S. Rare Earths miner. But while most analysts are looking for the commercial synergies in the deal, [...]
  • Supply, Demand, and the March of Science

    Just when American Resources has read its thousandth story on companies substituting around scare metals like the Rare Earths to reduce usage, along comes this Platts report on a new discovery in Russia’s RUSAL research labs, working in conjunction with a team from the Siberian Federal University.  Scientists there have fabricated a new aluminum alloy [...]
  • Our Looming Metals Deficiency

    BusinessWeek today reports the findings of a new study by PwC predicting chronic shortages of 14 metals and minerals critical to major industrial sectors ranging from chemicals and  aviation to renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.  Lithium, American Resources’ metal of the month, makes the list.  The report, based on a survey of [...]
  • New study sounds cautionary note on seabed mining prospects

    Much was made of a recent discovery of significant rare earth deposits on the seabed of the Pacific Ocean. Some were even heralding the beginning of the end of China’s rare earth near-total monopoly. Lending credibility to those cautioning against this sentiment, a new Canadian-led study published in the journal Geology concludes that “accessible supplies [...]
  • EPA Urged to Oppose Wind, Solar Power

    Well, you won’t see that headline atop of pieces like this one in the Alaskan press, but it’s a logical extension of policy actions like the one proposed to stop a copper/gold/molybdenum mine in Alaska.  In this case, we’re told that we can either allow the mine to proceed – or we can save the [...]

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