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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • India and the Tech Wars: Ripple Effects of the Confrontation over Who Will Dominate the 21st Century Tech Age

    While most of the headlines regarding the trade war between the United States and China — and, for ARPN followers, the underlying tech war over who which country will dominate the 21st Century Technology Age — focus on the main players in Washington, DC and Beijing, the ripple effects of this confrontation can be felt all over the world. 

    Case in point:  India, which although rich in mineral resources, relies to a significant extent on Chinese imports to meet domestic needs.  As the New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) recently outlined, India is one of the few countries that is home to vast REE reserves, but is ranked low in the REE market and considered more of a “low-cost supplier of raw materials.”

    The fact that most of REES consumed in India are imported from China, deprives the country of an “opportunity to earn substantial revenues as a supplier of hi-tech equipment like neodymium magnets” – particularly because the country is lacking a downstream sector, i.e. the manufacturing of intermediate products. “[i]nterestingly Japan currently imports dysprosium from India, using it to manufacture advanced neodymium magnets which are of high value, and today controls a sizeable portion of the global neodymium magnets market.”

    Realizing the urgency of the situation, the Indian government, albeit late to the race, has taken first steps to strengthen its critical minerals outlook, and earlier this summer released a new National Mineral Policy aimed at increasing the production of major minerals by 200 percent in 7 years. 

    Home to about 6.9 million metric tons of REEs – which amounts to roughly one-fifth of global reserves — companies have begun exploring REE opportunities domestically.

    More must be done, however, says IDSA: 

    “While a beginning has been made with the announcement of a National Mineral Policy 2019, covering non-fuel and non-coal minerals, India must strive to acquire expertise in valorising these minerals and shift to developing its downstream sector.”

     As co-founder of Technology Metals Research Jack Lifton suggested earlier this year, India could well become an alternative supplier of REEs to the world as it “has large reserves of monazite and is unexplored for other rare-earth minerals. (…) What’s missing is a domestic downstream processing supply chain. If this is constructed, India will become a major producer.” 

    “To that end,” concludes the IDSA analysis,  “India should seek to leverage its ties with Japan and other countries that have the requisite technology for manufacturing downstream equipment so that it can set itself up as an alternative source of the REE-based technology, with its own supply chain of minerals and metals required for the same, instead of being content with being a mere supplier of upstream materials.”

    As the U.S. continues to forge partnership agreements with allied nations such as Australia and Canada to secure its critical mineral supply chains, expect other nations like India to do the same.  The scramble for the world’s mineral resources has only just begun.  

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  • Canada and U.S. to Draft “Joint Action Plan” on Rare Earths / Critical Minerals

    After years of missed opportunities to prioritize mineral resource policy, the U.S. government is stepping up its efforts to secure critical mineral resource supply chains.  

    The latest case in point is the drafting of a “joint action plan” with our neighbors to the North to reduce reliance on Chinese supplies of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) — which, according to Canadian daily The Globe and Mail citing a federal briefing document, will be “presented to the political party that forms the next government after the Oct. 21 election.”

    Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed The Globe and Mail’s report in a press briefing, noting that he and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed the need to “ensure reliable supplies of rare earths and critical minerals” during their last meeting.  

    According to Bloomberg: 

    “[t]he joint plan outlined in the document obtained by The Globe and Mail contemplates including defense funding for critical minerals projects, and strategic investments in North American processing facilities, according to the newspaper. Senior Canadian officials have held meetings since July to discuss ways for the two countries to secure access [to] minerals including uranium, lithium, cesium and cobalt.

    News about increased cooperation with Canada comes on the heels of the announcement of a forthcoming roll out of a similar collaborative “action plan” between the United States and Australia, which, according to news reports, will “open a new front against China in a widening technology and trade war by exploiting Australian reserves of the rare earths and other materials that are essential for products ranging from iPhones to batteries and hybrid cars.”

    As we recently argued, partnerships with reliable allies like Australia — and now Canada — will go far — “but they must be complemented by increased domestic production of critical minerals in the United States.”  Thankfully, momentum on that front is picking up as well, as evidenced by the latest Senate committee hearing on mineral resource security, during which we saw a rare display of bipartisan agreement on the need for a more “holistic approach” to critical mineral resource policy, and that “when it comes to critical minerals extracting, processing, recycling… now is our call to action.”

    Here’s hoping policy makers heed it. 

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  • U.S. and Australia to Roll Out “Mutually Beneficial” Action Plan to Improve Security and Supply of Rare Earths

    Building on recent agency-level talks the United States and Australia have used the occasion of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s week long state visit to the United States to formally announce the forthcoming roll out of an “action plan” to counter Chinese dominance in the critical minerals sector, and specifically the Rare Earths sector. According to news [...]
  • As Tech War Deepens Over REEs, Australia Steps Up to the Plate

    As the trade war between China and the United States deepens, concern over access to Rare Earths and other critical minerals is spreading all over the world.  While the U.S. is taking steps aimed at increasing domestic REE supplies — most recently manifesting in the Trump Administration’s invocation of the 69-year-old Defense Production Act and [...]
  • ARPN Expert Panel Member on Strategic Metals Supply Chain in an Era of De-Globalization

    The trade war between China and the U.S., tensions between Russia and the West, the green energy transition — today’s political, geopolitical and economic pressures have significant implications for resource development. In a new piece on his blog, ARPN expert panel member and president of President of House Mountain Partners, LLC Chris Berry discusses “[t]he Strategic [...]
  • Materials Science Profiles of Progress: REE Extraction and Separation From Phosphoric Acid

    The tech war between China and the United States over who will dominate the 21st Century Technology Age is heating up. Earlier this week, China’s rare earth producers, who control the vast majority of global REE output, put out a statement declaring they are ready to “use their dominance of the industry as a weapon in [...]
  • China’s Leverage: Supply Monopoly Shapes U.S. Policy

    In case you were wondering to what extent foreign powers are shaping domestic policy, the UK’s daily The Telegraph has a great overview piece on how “China’s supply of rare minerals, used in products like the iPhone, is causing a headache for Washington.” Using one of the most popular telecommunications gadgets – the iPhone – [...]
  • China’s Grand Strategy to Exploit United States’ “Soft Underbelly” Goes Beyond Rare Earths

    Much is being made of China’s recent threats to cut off Rare Earth exports to the United States, and the issue has – finally – helped bring the issue of mineral resource policy reform to the forefront.  However, as Ian Easton, research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute and author of The Chinese Invasion Threat, [...]
  • Materials Science Profiles of Progress – Penn State University Launches Center for Critical Minerals

    Against the backdrop of a growing awareness of our over-reliance on foreign mineral resources — one need to look no further than the current coverage of China’s threat to play the “rare earths card” — Penn State University is launching a Center for Critical Minerals. Under the auspices of the College of Earth and Mineral [...]
  • ARPN’s McGroarty Quoted in Daily Caller Piece on the Specter of China Playing the “Rare Earths Card”

    Reporting for the Daily Caller, Michael Bastasch zeroes in on what has once again become a hot button issue – Rare Earth Elements (REEs) in the context of trade relations, as reported Chinese threats to “escalate its trade dispute with the Trump administration to include rare earth minerals has, once again, shined a spotlight on U.S. [...]

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