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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Lithium – Challenges and Opportunities Underscore Need for Domestic Resource Policy Overhaul

    In an interview with InvestingNews.com, Simon Moores, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s managing director and a member of the ARPN panel of experts, discusses challenges relating to Lithium – one of the key materials underpinning EV battery technology.

    Moores says that big challenges still lie in bringing new supply to the market, but the situation is not “straightforward, it’s not just about getting the spodumene up and running, it’s about that conversion capacity and what’s actually real.”

    As for opportunities, he says that automakers are realizing the challenges and are beginning to pay closer attention to Lithium:

    “We are coming into a new era where the auto companies know that you have to –well, someone’s have to going to pay for the supply chain to scale and most are trying to work that out, they know that now, I think, they have to have some kind of input somewhere, but that’s the raw material or the cathode or the batteries. We think it’s going to lie with the raw materials, the two key ones, which are lithium and cobalt in our eyes and I think that’s the biggest opportunity that the lithium space faces right now.”

    The U.S. – once the largest Lithium producer in the world – today lags far behind Chile, Australia and other nations in terms of production — but automakers, realizing the challenges, are beginning to turn back to the United States as a potential source of supply.

    As we previously outlined:

    “While challenges will remain, as ‘some of the deposits will require as-yet untested technology for extraction,’ experts, including our friends at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, believe that at least one or two U.S.-based projects could enter production in the next four to five years.

    Much will depend on the domestic policy environment, where changes are on the horizon. If U.S. policy-makers and other stakeholders make good on their recently-found commitment to comprehensive resource policy reform, the United States could once more become the mineral resource power house it once was – and Lithium could be on the forefront of this development.

    This will mean, however, that Washington, DC will have to do more than pay lip service.  An opportunity to improve the outdated and duplicative permitting process was just squandered when lawmakers on Capitol Hill struck the House-passed Amodei amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.  With reports offering reform solutions due from various government agencies, it remains to be seen whether policy makers are ready to actually tackle the challenges or merely kick the can down the road again.

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  • Automakers turn to U.S. Market as Potential Source of Lithium

    We’ve said it before, EV battery technology is the new black – and if the metals and minerals fueling this technology are not yet on your radar, you’ve clearly missed the memo.  Even the oil industry is coming to grips with this new reality. As our friends from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence report:

    “For the first time ever, the oil industry has acknowledged lithium and electric vehicle battery raw materials via BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2018.”

    Says Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and member of the ARPN panel of experts:

     “While the subject of lithium has been on the radar of Big Oil in recent years, this is the first-time lithium has been publicly acknowledged by the oil industry. We have entered a new era for commodities.”   

    While the United States was the the largest Lithium producer in the world in the 1970s, today, for a number of reasons, U.S. production lags far behind that of Chile, Australia, and several other nations, according to USGS.

    The ongoing EV revolution, in which China has long jockeyed for pole position, is driving automakers to look for ways to decrease their reliance on China for their Lithium needs, and in doing so, they are increasingly turning back to the United States as a potential source of supply. As Reuters reports:

    “The United States produced only about 2 percent of the world’s lithium last year, from a single mine in Nevada. But it has around 13 percent of the world’s identified resources, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Higher prices could make mining profitable. In May, the United States counted lithium among 35 critical minerals, which could up speed up mine permitting.”

    Reuters cites a U.S. automaker the spokesperson of which, on condition of anonymity, said that “given its close proximity and the opportunity to diversify the supply chain, we would certainly be interested in U.S.-based lithium sources – as long as it is sustainable, environmentally friendly, and competitively priced.”

    Just this past week, following the completion of a pre-feasibility study, a promising resource estimate was released for Nevada-based project.  While challenges will remain, as “some of the deposits will require as-yet untested technology for extraction,” experts, including our friends at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, believe that at least one or two U.S.-based projects could enter production in the next four to five years.

    Much will depend on the domestic policy environment, where changes are on the horizon. If U.S. policy-makers and other stakeholders make good on their recently-found commitment to comprehensive resource policy reform, the United States could once more become the mineral resource power house it once was – and Lithium could be on the forefront of this development.

    Share
  • Supply Chain Timelines Warrant Comprehensive Policy Approach – A Look at Lithium

    In case you haven’t noticed, EV battery technology is the new black. With Lithium being one of the key metals driving this technology, our friends at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence have looked at the material’s supply chain – and the time it takes to develop the respective components of it. As Simon Moores, managing director at [...]
  • Materials Science Profiles of Progress: CMI Expands Collaborative Research Focus to Include Lithium and Cobalt

    The Critical Materials Institute (CMI), a Department of Energy research hub under the auspices of Ames Laboratory, is expanding its research on tech metals “as rapid growth in electric vehicles drives demand for lithium, cobalt.” According to a recent Ames Lab press release, the Institute will focus on maximizing the efficiency of processing, usage and [...]
  • Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s World Tour Returns to U.S. this May

    Our friends from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence – formidable experts when it comes to battery tech and the mineral resources driving it – are returning to the U.S. in May for another round of their World Tour. This year’s tour will “focus on the supply chains for the next generation of battery technologies,” and seek to [...]
  • 2018 – A Tipping Point For U.S. Resource Policy and Related Industries?

    The following is a guest post by ARPN expert panel member Chris Berry, Founder, House Mountain Partners. His expertise focuses on, but is not limited to, energy metals including Lithium, Cobalt, Graphite, Vanadium and Rare Earths. The Executive Order recently signed by President Trump to prioritize domestic natural resource development couldn’t have come at a [...]
  • Lithium – A Material “Coming of Age” is Case in Point for Mineral Resource Policy Reform

    As we have outlined, last month’s executive order on critical minerals could have far-reaching implications for our national security and economic wellbeing.  If you needed a case in point – look no further than Lithium. One of the hottest commodities of the day, Lithium, as ARPN expert panel member and managing director of Benchmark Mineral [...]
  • Moores’ Law: The Rise of Lithium Ion Battery Megafactories and What it Means for Critical Mineral Resource Supply

    Earlier this month, Simon Moores, Managing Director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and member of the ARPN panel of experts testified before the full U.S. Senate Energy Committee on opportunities and risks in the energy storage supply chain.   We’re titling his observations as Moores’ Law — which is his for the taking, given the placement [...]
  • Senate Energy Committee Zeroes in on Energy Storage Revolution – Where Will the Battery Megafactories Get the Minerals and Metals They Need?

    Just last week, we highlighted the surge in EV technology and its implications for mineral resource supply and demand.  A timely subject – as evidenced by the fact that the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy held a “Full Committee Hearing “to Examine Energy Storage Technologies” this week. Simon Moores, Managing Director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence [...]
  • The Surge of EV Technology and Implications for Mineral Resource Supply and Demand

    You may have caught Elon Musk’s exchange with Daimler on Twitter over investment in EV technology earlier this week. Vacuum giant Dyson has also tossed its hat into the ring announcing that it will spend $2.7 billion to develop an electric car. The headlines are piling up, and it’s no longer a secret that demand [...]

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