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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • India and the Tech Wars: Ripple Effects of the Confrontation over Who Will Dominate the 21st Century Tech Age

    While most of the headlines regarding the trade war between the United States and China — and, for ARPN followers, the underlying tech war over who which country will dominate the 21st Century Technology Age — focus on the main players in Washington, DC and Beijing, the ripple effects of this confrontation can be felt all over the world. 

    Case in point:  India, which although rich in mineral resources, relies to a significant extent on Chinese imports to meet domestic needs.  As the New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) recently outlined, India is one of the few countries that is home to vast REE reserves, but is ranked low in the REE market and considered more of a “low-cost supplier of raw materials.”

    The fact that most of REES consumed in India are imported from China, deprives the country of an “opportunity to earn substantial revenues as a supplier of hi-tech equipment like neodymium magnets” – particularly because the country is lacking a downstream sector, i.e. the manufacturing of intermediate products. “[i]nterestingly Japan currently imports dysprosium from India, using it to manufacture advanced neodymium magnets which are of high value, and today controls a sizeable portion of the global neodymium magnets market.”

    Realizing the urgency of the situation, the Indian government, albeit late to the race, has taken first steps to strengthen its critical minerals outlook, and earlier this summer released a new National Mineral Policy aimed at increasing the production of major minerals by 200 percent in 7 years. 

    Home to about 6.9 million metric tons of REEs – which amounts to roughly one-fifth of global reserves — companies have begun exploring REE opportunities domestically.

    More must be done, however, says IDSA: 

    “While a beginning has been made with the announcement of a National Mineral Policy 2019, covering non-fuel and non-coal minerals, India must strive to acquire expertise in valorising these minerals and shift to developing its downstream sector.”

     As co-founder of Technology Metals Research Jack Lifton suggested earlier this year, India could well become an alternative supplier of REEs to the world as it “has large reserves of monazite and is unexplored for other rare-earth minerals. (…) What’s missing is a domestic downstream processing supply chain. If this is constructed, India will become a major producer.” 

    “To that end,” concludes the IDSA analysis,  “India should seek to leverage its ties with Japan and other countries that have the requisite technology for manufacturing downstream equipment so that it can set itself up as an alternative source of the REE-based technology, with its own supply chain of minerals and metals required for the same, instead of being content with being a mere supplier of upstream materials.”

    As the U.S. continues to forge partnership agreements with allied nations such as Australia and Canada to secure its critical mineral supply chains, expect other nations like India to do the same.  The scramble for the world’s mineral resources has only just begun.  

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  • Japan Pursuing Long-Term Critical Mineral Strategy in Kazakhstan

    In an effort to secure ongoing access to Rare Earths (REEs) for its domestic industries, Japan, which in geological terms does not have much of a resource profile, has entered into a series of cooperative agreements with Kazakhstan, a nation quickly ascending into the league of top REE suppliers in the world.

    The latest one of these deals, struck by the Nipponese Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation’s (JOGMEC) in late October with local Kazakh authorities to jointly explore for rare earths in the Karaganda and Kostanay regions, solidifies Japan’s foothold in the resource-rich Central Asian nation.

    Policy makers in the U.S. – which is no stranger to import dependencies for critical mineral resources – should take note.  Commodity prices may have cooled in recent years, and manufacturers are increasingly looking to substitution and recycling, but these are no silver bullets to alleviate supply shortages, particularly as demand for tech minerals will likely continue to soar.

    Meanwhile, the global resource wars are continuing to heat up before our very own eyes.   Japan may have learned its lesson the hard way, when China cut off its REE exports to Japan in 2010. It is now approaching its mineral supply issues strategically, with a long-term vision in mind, and is not only looking to Kazakhstan, but has also signed a partnership agreement with India to explore stakes in deep-sea mining.

    Whether or not we may one day see OPEC-style coordination between China, Russia and Kazakhstan on global REE supply, as some fear, the United States, would be well-advised to join Japan in formulating a long-term critical mineral resource strategy – the stakes are too high, and the nature of mining and challenges associated with it are just not conducive to improvising policies on the fly.

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  • Resource-hungry China continues its global quest for minerals

    While the fate of even first steps towards implementing a strategic minerals policy in the U.S. remains questionable, China is expanding its mineral resource footprint virtually all over the globe. According to recent media reports, Chinese companies have made forays into Sri Lanka looking for copper, zinc and aluminium suppliers. While this search was unsuccessful, [...]
  • Global resource insecurity an issue that “should be on everyone’s radar screen”

    In yet another comprehensive piece for Resource Investor Aheadoftheherd.com host and Northern Venture Group President Rick Mills discusses the issue of global resource insecurity. Pointing out a long list of “serious concerns in regards to global resource extraction that we need to consider,” Mills’ piece zeroes in on costs, resource nationalism, civil unrest directed towards [...]
  • Indian-Japanese Rare Earths cooperation underscores geopolitical dimension of resource policy

    Dwarfed by Chinese production today, it may be hard to imagine that India was once the world’s leading Rare Earths producer. The country is now trying to gain foot hold in a market it dominated in the 1950s, and is hoping to benefit from a territorial dispute in the East China Sea. In the wake [...]
  • African mining conference proves resource race heating up

    An interesting article in a South African weekly discussing the upcoming African Mining Indaba, an annual conference now in its 18th year with the stated goal of bringing investors in to help fuel investment into African mining, caught our eye this week. With more than 6,500 delegates expected at this year’s Indaba, next month’s event [...]
  • India seeks to gain ground in global resource race

    India aims to increase its GDP by $210 billion from the mining and mineral sector by 2025, as outlined in a recent government strategy paper, according to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly.  While resource consumption in India has been on the rise, the paper laments that “performance has been poor both in input and output parameters [...]
  • Copper Month is over but copper’s rise continues

    American Resource’s Copper Month may have ended, but copper demand continues to show strength, in spite of a global economy that is anemic at best.  Reuters reports a rapid depletion of current copper stocks, contrary to the macro-economic news of slowing global growth.  American Resources will leave month-to-month fluctuations in copper and other metals markets [...]
  • India to overhaul its critical mineral strategy

    The Indian Express ran an excellent article this week on India’s efforts to develop a mineral strategy.  The piece gives a broad overview on the global context of the critical mineral mining environment from an Indian perspective. It points out that China not only accounts for more than 90 percent of global REE supply, but [...]
  • Japan and India agree on joint development of rare earths

    As China continues its geopolitical rare earths power play, Japan and India are the latest countries to partner in an attempt to offset China’s near total supply monopoly.  According to the Asia News Network, the foreign ministers of the two countries agreed in late October to promote the joint development of the critical minerals at [...]

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