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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 10 – U.S. House Committee to Hold Hearing on “Research and Innovation to Address the Critical Materials Challenge”

    On Tuesday, December 10 — close to the two-year anniversary of the White House’s executive order “to develop a federal strategy to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals” the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on “Research and Innovation to Address the Critical Materials Challenge.”

    The hearing comes against the backdrop of increased domestic and international activity in the field of mineral resource policy amidst growing concern on Capitol Hill over how to secure mineral supply chains for domestic industries.  

    The specter of using Rare Earths as an economic weapon – as threatened by China earlier this year – revealed that “the current trade war between the U.S. and China is in fact one front in a larger tech war: a competition to see which country will dominate the 21st Century Technology Age.”

    And while Washington, DC remains locked in partisan fighting, there is a growing realization across party lines – as evidenced in a recent U.S. Senate hearing -  that a more “holistic approach” to critical mineral resource policy is warranted and that “when it comes to critical minerals extracting, processing, recycling… now is our call to action.”

    Writes Dylan Brown for E&E Daily (subscription required):

    “They are split on solutions, but many Republicans and Democrats share national security concerns about growing reliance on foreign countries, in particular China, for a slew of minerals used in military and renewable energy technology.”

    Earlier this summer, the White House released its long-awaited federal strategy subsequent to the December 2017 executive order. Like long-standing legislation put forth by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), S. 1317, and Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), H.R. 2531, the strategy aims to reform the regulatory framework for mine permitting. 

    Democrat House bills take a different approach, calling for increased federal funding for critical minerals research and recycling. Rep. Eric Swalwell’s (D-Calif.) proposed bill would make the DoE’s Critical Materials Institute permanent and designate funding for it. 

    As Brown notes, any of the bills will face an uphill battle because “neither parties’ base see critical minerals as such a dire threat”  — an assessment one can only hope won’t cost us dearly.   

    In the meantime, it is encouraging to see that the United States is taking other steps to bolster its critical minerals supplies — including entering into critical mineral partnership agreements with reliable allies like Australia and Canada.

    For more information on tomorrow’s hearing, including a list of witnesses and live cover rage of the proceedings, click here.

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  • 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 [...]
  • “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 [...]

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