American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
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  • Department of Energy to Step Up Critical Minerals Research

    The U.S. Department of Energy has announced stepped-up research efforts into critical metals and minerals. Planning to spend up to $120 million, the department aims to create an “Energy Innovation Hub” with the goal to advance green energy technologies relying on critical mineral resources including (but not limited to) rare earths. Says Secretary of Energy Steven Chu:

    “We must ensure America’s entrepreneurs and manufacturers continue to have access to these critical materials so we can compete in the global energy economy.”

    The announcement is not only timely in light of the upcoming release of an American Resources study surveying the U.S. federal government’s approach to critical metals and minerals; it is a welcome development as our (unnecessary) over-reliance on foreign mineral resources is fraught with many challenges. However, in order to achieve the goals spelled out by Secretary Chu it is crucial that U.S. policy makers acknowledge the importance of moving from research to action.

    While the rest of the world is off to the races when it comes to overhauling their mineral strategies to meet their resource needs against geological as well as geopolitical realities, the U.S. has begun to pay attention to the issue, but has yet to take active steps to address the many challenges associated with it. As Jack Lifton, Director of Technology Metals Reasearch, has aptly put it:

    “I’m seeing a great deal of smoke and no fire. I am seeing a lot of talk, Congressional hearings, bills drafted – but I am seeing no shovel.”

    This week’s Strategic Minerals Conference 2012, taking place on June 6, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC will look at what roles the public and private sectors can and must play in the maximization of our domestic mineral resource potential.

    For more information including related video from some of the conference participants
    and an updated agenda visit www.strategicmineralsconference.com.

  • Our dangerous metals deficiency: DOE releases its new critical minerals strategy

    The Department of Energy officially released its 2011 Critical Materials Strategy, an update of last December’s inaugural report on metals essential to green-tech applications ranging from wind and solar power to EV batteries and CFL lighting.  Five metals made the critical risk quadrant for both the short-term (today to 2015) and medium-term (2015 to 2025); all five are Rare Earths (dysprosium, terbium, yttrium, europium and neodymium).  Tellurium — a derivative of Copper, American Resources first Metal of the Month — and Indium — a derivative of this Month’s Metal of the Month, Zinc — are rated “near-critical” by the DOE.   For anyone who advocates a green manufacturing base in the U.S., DOE’s assessment is cause for concern:  “Supply challenges… may affect clean energy technology deployment in the years ahead.”

    For followers of American Resources, it’s worth noting Pillar 1 of DOE’s strategy:

    “…Diversified global supply chains are essential.  To manage supply risk, multiple sources of materials are required.  This means taking steps to facilitate extraction, processing and manufacturing here in the United States, as well as encouraging other nations to expedite alternative supplies.  In all cases, extraction, separation and processing should be done in an environmentally sound manner.”

    In terms of diagnosis, no other U.S. Government agency can match DOE’s efforts to understand our critical metals dependency.  As for a cure to our “metals deficiency,” it remains for Congress and the White House to make domestic resource development a policy priority.

  • U.S. DoE’s Sandalow links technology, green energy to resource development

    A high-ranking U.S. Department of Energy official is making the link between American technological progress and green energy to resource development. Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs David Sandalow told a U.S. Senate subcommittee last week that the U.S. must find ways to mitigate supply risk associated foreign dependence on rare earths [...]
  • Day 1: Metals for Energy & Environment Conference

    Our expert, Dan McGroarty is on-hand at the Metals for Energy and Environment conference in Las Vegas. While there, he’s been live-tweeting some of the action. Check out those updates here. And below, he provides a thorough re-cap of “Day 1″ on the front lines: Day one included a full slate of informative presentations, but [...]