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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • 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 is relevant. Writes Green:

    “(…) America’s critical minerals problem has gone from bad to worse. The nation’s only domestic rare earth producer was forced into bankruptcy in 2015 after China suddenly restricted exports and subsequently flooded the market with rare earth elements. Adding insult to injury, the mine was then sold last summer for $20.5 million to MP Mine Operations LLC, a Chinese-backed consortium that includes Shenghe Resources Holding Co. Now, according to MINE Magazine, this same mine is exporting critical minerals to a processing plant in China—because the United States cannot process or refine these materials at commercial scale. 

    Without a dramatic change in minerals policies, the United States will not be able to minimize the economic damage that will come when China decides to leverage its minerals monopolies against us.”

    Green outlines several key steps stakeholders should focus on:

    • Creating a “whole-of-market approach to spur innovation in minerals production” – i.e. removing “regulatory hurdles that dissuade would-be investors,” including, most notably, reducing permitting delays.
    • Focusing on “existing Department of Defense programs designed to support the U.S. defense industrial base.” Writes Green: “Each branch of service has a ManTech program intended to improve the productivity and responsiveness of the industrial base and to enable manufacturing technologies.” However, Green believes budget requests for FY 2019 are too low: “[D]edicating just 0.025 percent of the budget to the next generation of manufacturing technologies is nowhere near enough to catch up to China and shore up domestic capabilities.”
    • Ensuring that ManTech and DPA projects are not only prioritized but that respective funds will fill vulnerabilities in the defense industrial base. Writes Green: “Building resiliency and operational capacity throughout the supply chain requires investing in more than just the finished product to include the many tools, technologies, and processes that get us there. With a calculated and strategic focus on filling these gaps in the supply chain, American companies can rise to the task.”
    • Combating unfair trade practices “that have bankrupted American mining companies and left us dependent on China for minerals essential to the defense industrial base.”“The United States must make clear it will not tolerate these practices, and will take a strong stance against continued, aggressive trade actions.”

    As Reuters columnist Andy Home has outlined, coming up with a list of Critical Minerals was the easy part. Green’s suggested list of policy recommendations gives us another glimpse into what comes next – the hard work of overhauling policies to appropriately address our nation’s critical mineral supply issues.

    Click here to read the full text of Green’s piece.

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  • 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 [...]
  • While U.S. is slow to even begin permitting reform, Queensland, Australia speeds up already expeditious process

    An overhaul of the approvals process in Queensland, Australia will cut the time it takes to issue an exploration permit in half, according to the state’s government.  The change applies to exploration permits only, and government officials are very clear that a granted exploration permit is not a right to mine. Nonetheless, the new process represents [...]

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