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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • REEs Underscore Challenges of Erosion of Defense Industrial Base

    While policies stemming from the dominating free-trade ideology “have succeeded in generating great wealth for the U.S. economy, they have also led to a number of unintended consequences, including the erosion of the manufacturing segment of the defense industrial base,” argues Jeff Green, president of Washington, D.C.-based government relations firm J.A. Green & Company, and member of the ARPN panel of experts in a new piece for National Defense Magazine.

    Compounded by budgetary uncertainty during the Obama administration, he says, a “greatly reduced scope within the industry left the defense supply chain with a large number of single points of failure.”

    Writes Green:

    “Looking at U.S. industry more broadly, it is clear that while certain segments of manufacturing output are doing well, industries that supply defense manufacturing have sustained deep declines in recent years. The mining of non-fuel resources, for example, peaked in early 2006 and has declined ever since. The decline in textile production has been even more dramatic. At a time when the economy is increasingly dominated by service businesses, both the executive branch and Congress must take a hard look at the ideological underpinnings driving our industrial policy.”

    Green points to the example of Rare Earths and our “near sole-source dependence on China” for these elements, which are essential components of a broad range of high-tech military equipment. The lack of domestic sources creates a serious strategic vulnerability vis-à-vis our adversaries, as underscored by the 2010 decision by China to cut off REE exports to Japan – an episode ARPN followers may remember.

    Green is concerned by indications that “China may try to use the export of critical raw materials to gain geopolitical leverage over the United States,” citing a remarks by China’s former finance minister Lou Jiwei who reportedly told an audience in September of last year that China could restrict exports of core items for the U.S. manufacturing supply chain.

    Thankfully, Green says, “government policy is rapidly changing to create a more secure industrial base, highlighted by efforts to create a more favorable business climate to sustain potentially low-volume, high priority production of key materials.”

    To read Green’s full piece, in which he outlines recent government initiatives and calls on Congress to provide legislative support for executive action, click here.

    And for a an insightful primer on Rare Earths supply and demand trends watch this interview with Roskill analyst David Merriman.

     

     

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  • Defense Industrial Base Report “Clear Sign We Need to Act Urgently”

    In a new piece for The Hill’s Congress Daily Blog, retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. John Adams argues the recently released Defense Industrial Base Report and its findings, which we previously discussed here and here, represent a call to action for Congress and other stakeholders, because it shows that “[j]ust when we should be retooling for renewed great power competition, the very foundation from which we project strength is crumbling.” 

    Gen. Adams highlights  the “aggressive industrial policies of competitor nations, particularly China”as one of the biggest issues.  Pointing to the extent our over-reliance on foreign metals and minerals has grown over the course of the past 40 years, he says “[o]ur shocking import dependence on minerals and metals is merely a microcosm of the problem,” and continues:

    “A troubling number of these minerals are dominated by domestic Chinese production or by Chinese companies operating around the globe. Take our 100 percent import reliance on rare earth minerals. China has monopolized the production of these 17 minerals, which are in a dizzying array of military hardware. From F-22 and F-35 aircraft to guidance and targeting systems, these minerals are essential to most of our advanced weapons systems. That we have allowed to China to dominate their production and processing defies comprehension.”

    His suggestions on how to alleviate the problems strike a theme familiar for followers of ARPN:

    “We must first begin with taking a comprehensive approach to U.S. competitiveness. Challenging unfair trade practices should be part of that approach but reducing our self-imposed barriers to competitiveness must be part of the equation as well. Our redundant, broken mine permitting process is a case in point. (…) We can and must do better.”

    He concludes:

    “Rebuilding our defense industrial base is finally being given the attention it deserves. How effectively we act remains to be seen. However, the systemic challenges highlighted in the just-released report can no longer go unaddressed. A concerted effort from the executive branch, Congress and the Department of Defense is needed to undo years of damage caused by decades of complacency. We must urgently address our astonishing and growing import dependence on the raw materials that are the building blocks for our most important defense systems.”

    The time to act is now – our competitors, and first and foremost China, have made clear they’re not going to wait for us to get our resource policy house in order.

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  • “From Bad to Worse” – Why the Current Focus on Critical Minerals Matters

    Earlier this spring, the Department of the Interior released its finalized Critical Minerals List.  Jeffery Green, president and founder of government relations firm J.A. Green & Company and member of the ARPN panel of experts reminded us in a recent piece for Defense News why the current focus on our over-reliance on foreign mineral resources [...]
  • McGroarty for IBD: “Time to Make the Connection Between Critical Minerals and National Defense”

    “For want of a nail … the kingdom was lost” Invoking the old proverb dating back to the 13th Century as a cautionary tale and reminder that “the most sophisticated defense supply chain is only as strong as our weakest link,” ARPN’s Dan McGroarty argues in a new piece for Investor’s Business Daily that the [...]
  • Coalition of Congressional Members and Stakeholders Call on EPA to Reverse Pre-emptive Veto and Restore Due Process to U.S. Mine Permitting  

    Earlier this month, the Congressional Western Caucus led a coalition of Members of Congress and Stakeholders to call on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to reverse a pre-emptive veto of the Pebble Mine project in Alaska. The veto stopped the project before it had formally applied to begin the permitting process — a unilateral expansion of [...]
  • Road to Regulatory Reform – NMA-Commissioned Poll Shows Voters in Favor of Domestic Mining Permitting Reforms

    Advances in materials science are altering and expanding the ways in which we use metals and minerals at neck-breaking speeds, and are drastically changing the supply and demand picture.  The United States was significantly less dependent on foreign supplies of metals and minerals in the 1970s — but today, we find ourselves import-reliant for scores [...]
  • Road to Regulatory Reform – ARPN Launches New Effort to Promote Regulatory Reform in the Non-Fuel Mineral Resource Sector

    Since its inception, ARPN has advocated for more robust domestic resource development. The U.S. mine permitting process has long inhibited domestic development, and has exacerbated U.S. dependence on foreign metals and mineral supplies.  As the pace of technological change accelerates, driven by advances in materials science, these ever-deepening resource dependencies are weakening the U.S. economy [...]
  • Panelists at U.S. House Hearing Stress Dangers of America’s Growing Resource Dependence

    During yesterday’s oversight hearing on the subject of “Examining Consequences of America’s Growing Dependence on Foreign Minerals,” before the House Natural Resources Committee, panelists raised some of the key issues we have consistently highlighted on our blog. Panelists included: Mr. Ronnie Favors, Administrator, U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, Strategic Materials, U.S. Department of Defense Dr. Murray [...]
  • ARPN’s McGroarty for Investor’s Business Daily: U.S. Mineral Resource Dependence a “Clear and Present Danger”

    Against the backdrop of growing threats to U.S. security – recent flash points involve Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea – a new Presidential Executive Order “On Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States,” zeroes in on defense readiness. The E.O. requires heads from various [...]
  • Lithium – A Case In Point for Mining Policy Reform

    In a recent op-ed for the Reno Gazette Journal, professor emeritus of mining engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno, Jaak Daemen makes the case for comprehensive mining policy reform.   Citing the arrival of electric vehicles in which “battery technology is catching up with the hype,” he cautions that benefits benefits associated with the [...]

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