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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • 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 efforts, increase domestic activity across the supply chain, streamline permitting, and grow the American critical minerals workforce,” comes at a critical juncture in time. 

    Only hours before the Commerce Department report release, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) had announced it is studying proposals to impose export controls on rare earth elements to “protect and better use such ‘strategic resource.’” 

    The recent escalation of U.S.-Chinese trade tensions, along with growing concerns over mineral resource supply chains for the EV and energy storage sectors are shining a light on the United States’ over-reliance on foreign sources for our critical mineral needs – which Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak) has called our nation’s “Achilles heel.”

    Important first steps towards a comprehensive mineral resource strategy, which our country has been lacking, were made with Executive Order 13817, A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals, in December of 2017, and the release of a list of 35 metals and minerals deemed critical from an economic and national security perspective, but most subsequent legislative efforts to reduce our foreign mineral dependencies faltered in 2018. 

    Says Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on the release of the new report:

    “These critical minerals are often overlooked but modern life without them would be impossible. Through the recommendations detailed in this report, the Federal government will take unprecedented action to ensure that the United States will not be cut off from these vital materials.”

    Here’s hoping the report does not fall on deaf ears and helps generate new momentum to secure our nation’s critical mineral needs. 

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  • DoI Grants Hardrock Mineral Lease Renewals in Superior National Forest in Minnesota

    As the global race for mineral resources heats up, the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management renewed two hardrock mineral leases in the Superior National Forest in Minnesota, opening the area up to copper mining.

    The leases granted to Twin Metals Minnesota LLC over heavy opposition from environmentalist groups, were first issued in 1966 for a 20-year term, and renewed several times.  The Obama administration had rejected the latest renewals in 2016, but officials in the current administration questioned the government’s legal power to reject the renewal and thus reversed this decision.

    It’s a timely move: formally a copper/nickel/gold/platinum-palladium deposit – the project site has Critical Mineral potential via the Platinum Group Metals, at a time when critical mineral and metal co-products factor into the U.S. Government’s focus on alleviating critical mineral import-dependencies.

    Minnesota Congressmen Emmer (MN-06) and Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08) applauded the signing of the leases.

    Said Congressman Emmer: 

    “Following the Interior’s announcement today, I am pleased that the Trump Administration acknowledges that we can responsibly develop our state’s resources – bringing jobs back to this region – while preserving the forests, lakes and streams that all Minnesotans hold dear,” said Congressman Emmer. “Our state and local economies deserve to prosper, and we can ensure that, while also protecting Minnesota’s beauty for future generations. When it comes to protecting the environment and developing our economic assets, nobody does it better than Minnesota.”

    Congressman Stauber added

    “In northern Minnesota, mining is our past, our present, and our future. With 21st century technology, we can responsibly develop the resources needed for the modern world and unleash the economic engine of northeastern Minnesota. (…) Unfortunately, misinformed policies of the past have not only prevented the responsible development of our resources but have even prohibited companies like Twin Metals from even submitting a proposed mining plan. I applaud Secretary Bernhardt and the Trump Administration for putting politics aside and rightfully giving our miners the opportunity to meet or exceed all environmental standards.”

    The BLM’s Environmental Assessment released in December of 2018 includes updated language to ensure compliance with laws and regulations that have been put in place since the leases were initially granted. 

    With the leases renewed, the permitting process will move into the next phase, during which Twin Metals must submit formal mine plan of operations triggering an extensive scientific and environmental review by the federal government.  

    With copper increasingly becoming a key building block of not just mainstay industries but also our green energy future, this is a welcome development we will continue to follow. 

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  • 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 [...]
  • Profiles of Progress: Public and Private Sectors to Collaborate on World Bank “Climate-Smart Mining Facility”

    Evolving out of its 2017 report “The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future”, which found that the sought-after transition to a “low-carbon future will be significantly more mineral intensive than a business as usual scenario,” the World Bank developed its “Climate-Smart Mining” initiative, which ARPN discussed a few weeks ago. [...]
  • U.S. Should Revisit R&D Spending Priorities, But Reform Cannot Occur in Vacuum 

    Followers of ARPN have long known that China is the big elephant in the room.  In a piece for the Wall Street Journal, Ezekiel Emanuel, Amy Gadsden and Scott Moore lament that while there is a growing  awareness that China may be the – in the words of Sec. of State Mike Pompeo “greatest challenge that [...]
  • Mineral Resource Policy Reform Through the Prism of Our Nation’s Crumbling Infrastructure

    In the past few months, we have seen indications for a growing awareness of the need for mineral resource policy reform. Much emphasis has —rightfully — been placed on the national security aspects of our over-reliance on foreign mineral resources, as well as the nascent realization that the pursuit of the green energy transition is [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Sustainably Greening the Future: Mining’s Growing Role in the Low-Carbon Transition

    At ARPN, we’ve long made the case that the current push towards a lower-carbon future is not possible without mining, as green energy technology relies heavily on a score of critical metals and minerals. In 2017, the World Bank World Bank published “The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future”, which echoed [...]
  • ARPN Expert Panel Member: Congress Must Resume Push Towards Greater Independence from Foreign Sources of Oil and Key Minerals

    “Electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids are the future, but getting past our current reliance on internal combustion engines will require secure, domestic sources for a plethora of important minerals, such as rare earth metals,” writes Major General Robert H. Latiff, a retired Air Force general with a background in materials science and manufacturing technology — and [...]
  • 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 [...]

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