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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Happy Silver Month!

    It’s March. And that doesn’t just mean that spring is around the corner – we’re also kicking off another month of highlighting yet another critical mineral. While in previous months, or educational campaign has focused on industrial and high-tech metals and minerals, our Metal of the Month of March – silver – really highlights the breadth of our metals and minerals needs.

    By definition a “precious” metal like gold, it may come as a surprise to those who see silver primarily as shiny adornment or a means to store value that the biggest end users of silver may actually be specialized industries. Anthony David highlights some of the lesser-known applications of silver for Critical Strategic Metals:

  • According to David, in 2010, the thick film photovoltaic industry, the automobile industry, and the PCs and laptop manufacturing industry accounted for the largest share of silver end usage, while cell phones, PDPs, and button batteries were the “other significant users of silver.”
  • Meanwhile, after demand has increased in recent months, this trend will likely continue courtesy of emerging technologies. Among them are:

  • Broader usage of silver electrodes currently used in solid-state lighting (SSL);
  • Usage of silver in superconductors for power transmission, and supercapacitors, which can capture and release energy from various sources;
  • Wider application of “nanosilver” in plastics, medical articles and devices, coatings and textiles, drawing from silver’s antimicrobial and conductive properties. For the latter, think Agloves, or The North Face’s ETIP Glove.
  • If that alone wasn’t reason enough to feature silver as our Metal of the Month, consider this: in spite of the fact that the United States is home to significant silver deposits, our import dependency rate for the precious metal currently stands at 75 percent – with further challenges for domestic producers on the horizon, as we’ll discuss in a further post in our series.

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  • Peruvian Elections Raise Issue of Resource Dependency for U.S.

    The election victory of leftist Peruvian presidential candidate Ollanta Humala in this week’s runoff election has instilled fears of higher taxes and new restrictive policies in the mining sector.  Peru is a leading producer of precious metals, and the U.S. relies heavily on Peruvian imports of zinc, tin, gold, copper, and silver. (To see exactly to what degree, take a look at the USGS Commodity Summaries 2011 report).

    Whether or not worries of greater state involvement in Peru’s mining sector in light of Humala’s ties to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez will materialize remains to be seen, as Humala ran on a more moderate economic platform in the runoff-election than before the first round of voting in April.

    The larger issue for the U.S. is that our unnecessarily high degree of dependence on foreign imports of metals and minerals leaves us vulnerable to geopolitical changes. It doesn’t take war or major political unrest, – a couple thousand of ballots could be all it takes to potentially disrupt our supply of critical resources. Unless we explore and develop the resources beneath our own soil, all we can do in such situations is sit and wait.

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  • Study says Americas lead precious, base metals discoveries – but what about U.S.A?

    A new study by the Metals Economics Group (MEG) outlines that when it comes to potential new precious and base metals mining discoveries, the Americas have dominated the rest of the world in the last three years. This means that initial drill results show a “significant deposit” that “has obvious commercial value.” In light of [...]
  • Seal Team Six has Rare Earths to thank for killer apps

    In Rare Earth Woes Could Mean Trouble for U.S. Stealth Fleet, Christine Parthemore takes a look behind the headlines at the materials that give the U.S. Military its high-tech edge: “Ever since Osama bin Laden’s demise, aviation sleuths have been trying to figure out what was the mystery copter that Delivered Seal Team Six.  I’ve [...]
  • China and Molycorp: what could have been

    The New American recently provided an in-depth look at Chinese investments into the world’s minerals and metals supply. I’ve included an excerpt below, but I recommend you click here to read the full article. While the piece was certainly compelling, I want to point out a few key facts that were not included. The author, [...]
  • Russia to rethink prospecting policies in Africa?

    In yet another indication that a global race for resources is in full swing, this opinion piece carried by the Russian news agency Ria Novosti suggests that Russia, a generally resource-rich country, should rethink its long-held position that prospecting for minerals outside its own territory is not necessary.  According to the author, Africa, another area [...]
  • Global events send price of gold soaring

    With the news cycle dominated by the ongoing crisis in Japan, unrest, and war in the Middle East, and financial troubles of European Union member countries; the price of gold is soaring. As CBS News reports, investors big and small are lured by the perceived safety of the commodity, sending its price to more than [...]
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