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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
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  • U.S. to Cooperate with Canada and Australia To Encourage Responsible Resource Development for New Energy Technology

    Amidst growing concerns over the availability of metals and minerals underpinning the EV revolution, the United States, Canada and Australia have joined forces to encourage the responsible development of said materials.

    As the Financial Times reported earlier last week, the US state department and its Canadian and Australian counterparts “will work to help countries discover and understand their mineral resources. They will advise on management and governance  frameworks that will attract international investment and support good environmental and social policies.”

    China – itself no stranger to playing politics with its position of strength in the resource realm – has long been jockeying for pole position in this area, for good reason. As Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and member of the ARPN panel of experts stated earlier with respect to EV battery technology: “whoever controls these supply chains controls industrial power in the 21st century.”

    The move for greater international cooperation comes as the threat of China playing the REE card looms larger than ever, as we discussed earlier last week.

    While potentially at the brink of seeing REE supply disruptions for military equipment firms, the United States appears to have awaken to the realities of 21st Century resource policies. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce released its Critical Minerals Strategy calling for “unprecedented action to ensure that the United States will not be cut off from these vital materials.”

    The cooperative push by the U.S. State Department may be separate from that effort, but ties into the overall realization that the materials science revolution requires are more comprehensive, strategic and concerted approach to resource policy than that pursued by the United States to date. 

    Meanwhile, Europe is also stepping up its mineral resource game, particularly in the EV realm.

    Against this backdrop, U.S. action becomes all the more urgent.  It is not too late yet. Says Moores:

    “There is no doubt that if the US acts now and invests wisely in partnerships, it can catch up, (…) [b]ut it really needs to act now.”

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  • Global Times: REE Supply Restrictions Likely for U.S. Military Equipment Firms

    The specter of China playing the “rare earths card” is looming larger this week.  

    According to the Global Times’s twitter feed, U.S. military equipment firms will likely face restrictions of Chinese Rare Earth supplies in the near future, as China’s economic planners will “study and roll out policies on rare earths as soon as possible.”    

    The Global Times is an English language newspaper published by the Communist Party of China’s publication People’s Daily.

    As followers of ARPN well know, China has a near-total supply monopoly on rare earths, which are key components of a wide range of applications ranging from household gadgets over hi-tech military equipment to renewable energy technology. 

    In recent months, trade tensions between the United States and China have deepened leading observers to sound the alarm, because the lack of domestic REE sources has created a serious strategy vulnerability vis-à-vis our adversaries, as underscored by the 2010 decision by China to cut of REE exports to Japan. 

    While some observers dismiss the looming threat of a Chinese REE supply embargo and cite a diversification of sources over the course of the past decade – including the Mountain Pass mine in California – which have reduced China’s supply monopoly to 77 percent, ARPN expert panel member and president and founder of public affairs firm J.A. Green & Company, points out via Twitter that 

    “Citing the decrease to 71% Chinese production ignores other parts of the supply chain. We should break down reliance on China for #REE metal, alloy and magnets to be a useful statistic.”

    He further cautions that “[t]o rely on ‘market forces’ to take care of the issue is dangerously naïve from a national security perspective. This is not a case of free trade, but rather Chinese market manipulation (as validated by the WTO ruling).”

    Green concludes:

    “Mountain Pass is a valuable resource, but is not a comprehensive solution. It is still reliant on the Chinese, it does not move past the concentrate phase of the supply chain, and is lacking in heavy REEs.”

    Thankfully, there are indications that our policy makers appear to awaken to the seriousness of the situation, and the just-released critical minerals strategy report by the U.S. Department of Commerce acknowledges that “If China or Russia were to stop exports to the United States and its allies for a prolonged period — similar to China’s rare earths embargo in 2010 — an extended supply disruption could cause significant shocks throughout U.S. and foreign critical mineral supply chains.”

    The strategy contains many helpful recommendations, including mine permitting reform, and coupled with pending legislation in Congress, could provide a good framework for alleviating the United States’ mineral resource supply vulnerabilities. 
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  • CBS’s 60 Minutes Airs Updated Rare Earths Segment Featuring ARPN’s McGroarty

    Bearing testimony to the significance of the looming specter of China playing the “rare earths card,” CBS’s 60 Minutes this weekend aired an update to its 2015 segment on rare earths featuring ARPN principal Dan McGroarty.  You can watch the segment on the CBS website, which also features a written transcript. There is hope that the [...]
  • Commerce Department Releases Long-Awaited Interagency Report on Critical Minerals

    On Tuesday, June 4, the U.S. Department of Commerce released the “interagency report that was submitted to the President pursuant to Executive Order 13817, A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.”  The report, which, according to the agency’s official announcement, “contains a government-wide action plan, including recommendations to advance research and development [...]
  • Trade Tensions Underscore Need for Mineral Resource Policy Reform

    While 2018 brought the inter-relationship between trade and resource policy to the forefront, this trend is continuing in 2019.   Last week, the White House announced sanctions on Iranian metals, which represent the Tehran regime’s biggest source of export revenue aside from petroleum.  The sanctions on Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum and copper sectors represent the [...]
  • U.S. To Pursue National Electric Vehicle Supply Chain

    ARPN expert panel member and managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Simon Moores must have struck a nerve when he called the U.S. a “bystander” in the current battery arms race during a recent Congressional hearing. His message  —  “Those who control these critical raw materials and those who possess the manufacturing and processing know how, will [...]
  • Release of USGS’s 2019 Mineral Commodity Summaries Once More Underscores Need for Resource Policy Reform

    The partial shutdown of the federal government at the beginning of this year had delayed its release, but last week, USGS published its 2019 Mineral Commodity Summaries. Followers of ARPN will know that we await the publication’s release with somewhat bated breath every year, as especially “Page 6” – the chart depicting U.S. Net Import [...]
  • Critical Minerals Alaska – A Look at Germanium

    In the twelfth and final installment of his “Critical Minerals Alaska” series for North of 60 Mining News, Shane Lasley takes a look at Germanium – a lesser known yet vital ingredient in fiber optic cables and high-efficiency solar cells.  Followers of ARPN may remember Germanium as one of the key co-products for the gateway [...]
  • 2019 New Year’s Resolutions for Mineral Resource Policy Reform

    Out with the old, in with the new, they say. It‘s new year‘s resolutions time.  With the end of 2017 having set the stage for potentially meaningful reform in mineral resource policy, we outlined a set of suggested resolutions for stakeholders for 2018 in January of last year.  And while several important steps  were taken [...]
  • 2018 – A Year of Incremental Progress?

    In case you hadn’t noticed amidst holiday preparations, travel arrangements and the usual chaos of everyday life – 2019 is just around the corner, and with that, the time to reflect on the past twelve months has arrived. So here is ARPN’s recap of 2018: Where we began. Unlike previous years, we started 2018 with [...]

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