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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • The “Electronification of Everything” Raises Specter of “War Over the Periodic Table”

    Via our friend and ARPN expert Simon Moores’ Twitter feed, we came across a three-part must-read series for Bloomberg View, in which author and policy expert David S. Abraham discusses the role of rare earths in today’s increasingly high-tech world.   Perhaps most interestingly, Abraham clarifies a common misconception in part two of the series:

    “Although the multiple functions of our new gadgets appear to come with the opportunity to use fewer raw materials — after all, the iPhone is a computer, book, and music player — the reality is we use far more total resources.

    Indeed, some new products use less rare metals than their previous iterations. For example, LED displays use far fewer rare-earth elements per lamp than their fluorescent cousins. But other times, an apparent reduction in materials use is just a displacement.”

    As he explains, laptops today may use fewer rare earths because flash drives are getting smaller, but to offset reduced memory capacities, usage of REE-magnets for hard drives in cloud-data storage centers is skyrocketing.

    Abraham cites the electric toothbrush, the production of which requires roughly 35 metals, as an example of the “’electronification’ of what were once simple products is now embedded with rare metals.”  Supplying these 35 metals, he says, requires an extensive supply chain spanning six continents.  The dangers associated with the inherent risk of supply disruptions stretch far beyond dental hygiene:

    “Because whole industries are built on just a few rare metals, disruptions to their supply can have profound global implications and give resource-rich countries tremendous leverage. (…) And as these metals are critical to green technology as well as underpin complex weapons systems and ultimately a country’s national defense, more is on the line than spinning toothbrushes.

    Abraham’s warning in part three of the series should sound familiar to our ARPN readers, as it reflects concerns we have consistently raised over the past few years:

    “Increasingly today, national economic security and the fate of many businesses are beholden to a handful of unheralded metals, produced often in one country, in many cases China. As our products become more advanced and supply lines intertwined, manufacturers become tied to the properties of specific rare metals, leaving them hostage to the resources. Without more robust supply lines, the War over the Periodic Table may be just beginning.”

     Read the entire three-part series here.

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  • The Geo-Politics of Rare Earths: China Reported to Add to Stockpile

    ARPN readers know that one of the core tenets of the Resource Wars thesis is that the market for strategic and critical metals is never immune to government interventions. Witness today’s Bloomberg report: “China Said to Add 10,000 Tons to Rare Earths Stockpiles.”

    Bloomberg reports:

    “China may stockpile more medium-to-heavy rare earths this year such as terbium, lutetium and yttrium, which are used in applications ranging from lasers to nuclear reactors, said China Merchants’ Peng [Bo].

    “China’s own industrial sector, in its rudimentary form, isn’t yet able to make full use of the country’s output, Peng said. The government is likely to hoard these elements for future use, she said.

    “‘The mining and refining industry, hampered by a drastic slump in prices, sees the purchase as a life-saver,’ said Chen Huan, an analyst at Beijing Antaike Information Development Co. ‘Prices the government agreed to pay are much higher than the prevailing market price.’”

    In March, the World Trade Organization ruled in favor of the U.S., Japan and EU’s contention that China’s Rare Earths export quotas were not justified. As a source within one of China’s state-owned enterprises told Bloomberg:

    “‘China is facing imminent pressure to abolish the export quota, so stockpiling is part of the policy reaction to help prop up prices and keep more of the resources at home for future use.’”

    As a follow-on, ARPN will share any U.S. Government reaction to this move – if in fact there is a reaction.

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  • Tesla Motors’ Gigafactory to Drive Critical Mineral Demand

    The graphite, lithium and cobalt industries are set for major demand surges as Tesla Motors prepares to break ground on its super-battery plant, the Gigafactory, next month. The high-end EV manufacturer is looking to double the world’s battery output as it seeks to bring the production cost of battery packs down in a bid to [...]
  • 3D Printing & the “New Rare Earths”

    “3D printing companies are the new Rare Earths.” Thus spake Twitter, a few hundred-million Tweets ago, giving birth to the new meme on what matters most in our constantly-evolving technology world. Meaning, of course, that the furor over Rare Earths sparked three years back — when China used its then-97% production monopoly as a weapon [...]
  • The Epoch Times on why the Pentagon wants “to buy rocks”

    The Epoch Times’s Matthew Robertson takes a closer look at the Pentagon’s request to Congress “for over a billion dollars. To buy rocks” – at a time when budget cuts should be the order of the day in Washington. He notes that while in previous years, the Department of Defense merely noted China’s near-total monopoly [...]
  • New NCPA report traces REE potential and related obstacles in the U.S.

    It’s time the United States overhaul its outdated and rigid permitting process and begin harnessing our vast rare earths potential while promoting economic and job growth – that’s not just something the American Resources Policy Network has been advocating for quite some time, it is also the finding of a new study released by our [...]
  • Alaska Senate passes resolution in support of REE exploration

    Alaska continues to be a state leader when it comes to formulating mineral resource policy. In line with Gov. Sean Parnell’s five-part strategy to support the mining industry, the State Senate has passed a resolution in support of in-state Rare Earths exploration, which urges state agencies and the federal government to lend its support to [...]
  • Antimony metal to be watched

    In a piece for DailyMarkets.com, analyst Jeb Handwerger zeroes in on Antimony. Antimony is a key component in fire retardants as well as batteries, ceramics, touch-screen technology, glass, and ammunition and has seen largely stable prices in unstable economic times. With China being its top producer controlling nearly 90 percent of global supply and other [...]
  • Study confirms occurrence of REEs in Germany

    Early last year, we highlighted new Rare Earth exploration efforts in Saxony, Germany, where a newly formed company called Seltene Erden Storkwitz AG was slated to kick off drilling operations in the East German state. They did kick off, and the long-suspected occurrence of Rare Earths in the area has now been confirmed by a [...]
  • New year, new players in the REE game?

    In an ongoing reaction to China’s restrictive mineral policies, countries are expanding their efforts to look for alternative supplies of sought-after commodities. Case in point is Japan, which in recent months has inked cooperative agreements with a number of other nations including India and Vietnam. Its most recent effort is focused on what is better [...]

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