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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • USGS Scholars Provide Insights into Resource Interdependency and Conflict Potential in New Study

    The advances in materials science have been fundamentally transforming the way we look at metals and minerals – both from a usage, as well as a supply and demand perspective.  With that, the nature of potential resource conflict has also changed.

    As USGS National Minerals Information Center scholars Andrew L. Gulleya, Nedal T. Nassar,  and Sean Xuna observe in a new Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study, resource conflicts of the past “have often centered on fuel minerals (particularly oil). Future resource conflicts may, however, focus more on competition for nonfuel minerals that enable emerging technologies.”

    The authors argue that while more and more stakeholders and researchers have acknowledged and are increasingly concerned about the concept of import reliance, “few studies assess import reliance and none compare import reliance of countries concurrently.”

    Against this backdrop, Gulleya, Nassar and Xuna measure and compare the current foreign mineral dependence of 42 minerals for the world’s two largest national economies, the United States and China.

    Among their key findings:

    “We find that China relies on imports for over half of its consumption for 19 minerals, compared with 24 for the United States— 11 of which are common to both. It is for these 11 minerals that competition between the United States and China may become the most contentious.”

    “Unless reliance can be reduced through substitution, improved processing efficiencies, increased domestic production, or recycling, the United States and China will increasingly vie for access to overseas assets that produce minerals in [that category]”

    “Increasing demand for minerals that enable sustainable and defensive technologies may intensify international resource competition during the 21st century—especially for minerals that cannot be substituted and have highly concentrated production. While improvements in recycling, mineral processing, material efficiency, substitution, and domestic production may alleviate import reliance and resource competition in the long run, such factors are often constrained in the short run by existing technology, existing manufacturing capital, and long development timeframes.”

    Policy makers – take note.

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  • AGI to Host Webinar on Critical Minerals

    Mark your calendars – the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) will host a timely webinar on critical mineral issues later this month.

    The webinar entitled “Tracking the Global Supply of Critical Materials” will be held on Friday, January 26, 2018, at 11:00am EST, and will “focus on U.S. and European Union (EU) efforts to gather information and develop tools that can be used to ensure a secure national and global supply of mineral resources; identify and quantify vulnerabilities in this supply; and stimulate national and international co-operation, education and outreach, and innovation in the development, recycling, and substitution of key mineral resources.”

    Speakers include:

    • Nedal Nassar, Chief of the Materials Flow Analysis Section at the USGS’s National Minerals Information Center, and
    • Vitor Correia, President of the European Federation of Geologists, and coordinator of the EU’s INTRAW project.

    Against the backdrop of the USGS’s release of its landmark Professional Paper 1802 and the subsequently issued executive order on critical minerals, the event provides a great resource for stakeholders looking to engage in the national policy discourse over the next few months — a discourse that will be critical to the successful development and implementation of a “comprehensive federal action plan to encourage domestic resource production, through mining, recycling and reclamation.”

    Click here to register for the free webinar.

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  • The Arctic – A Looming Battlefield for Resource Supremacy?

    While relations between Russia and the United States continue to make headlines on a daily basis, one particular aspect of this relationship – in spite of the fact that it may be one of the most contentious ones – has been largely flying under the radar. As Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin recently wrote: [...]
  • North Korean Brinkmanship Highlights Nexus Between Resource Policy and Geopolitics

    At ARPN, we have long highlighted the important but oft-overlooked nexus between resource policy and geopolitics.   The latest case in point is South Korea, which, as ARPN President Daniel McGroarty points out in his latest opinion piece for Fox News, is navigating murky waters “talking sunshine and Rare Earths as North Korean war clouds gather.” For decades, [...]
  • Japan continues to diversify its REE suppliers with imports from Kazakhstan

    Against the backdrop of mounting tensions in the territorial dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, Japan has recently been stepping up its efforts to diversify the sources of its mineral resource supply. Japan-based Sumitomo Corporation will import Rare Earths from Kazakhstan, according to the website Finance GreenWatch. With the backing of the [...]
  • European Union seeks close cooperation with Greenland to fulfill resource needs

    In an effort to secure access to critical metals and minerals for its industries, European Commission representatives Antonio Tajani (Vice President), and Andris Piebalgs (Commisisoner for Development Cooperation) have signed a letter of intent on cooperation with Greenland’s Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist. The June 13 letter of intent covers cooperation in the areas of joint [...]
  • The Geography and Geopolitics of Copper Mining

    As we’re kicking off week two of “Copper Month” at American Resources, here’s a look at the geography at global copper mining, and the geopolitical challenges that arise from it.  According to the USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries, most of the world’s copper is mined in Chile, Peru, and China. The U.S. ranks fourth, but domestic [...]
  • Aware the days of its near-monopoly are numbered, China leverages REE stranglehold to lure foreign business

    The New York Times’ Keith Bradshear has taken a closer look at foreign manufacturers moving their production sites into China in an effort to mitigate reduced access to and increased cost for REEs – a development we covered on our blog here and here. The article underscores that rather than acting out of environmental concerns, [...]
  • China discovers world’s second largest molybdenum deposit

    Chinadaily.com.cn reports that China has discovered its largest molybdenum deposit to-date in the East-Chinese province of Anhui.   At 2.2 million tons, the discovered deposits have a mining life of more than one hundred years and constitute the second largest known quantity of minable molybdenum with the world’s largest mine being the Climax Mine in Colorado. [...]
  • What makes it whirl? The commonalities of vacuums and geopolitics

    As you vacuum your house, you’re probably not thinking too much about the United States’ over-reliance on foreign mineral resources.  Here’s why maybe you should: Ever wonder what makes your Dyson DC 31 handheld vacuum cleaner whirl? You may be surprised to hear that the answer is rare earths. Five times faster than a racing [...]

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