American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • 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 on global REE supply and production, in this year’s report to the House Armed Services Committee, the agency strikes a more urgent tone and looks to stockpiling as a means to “hedge” the supply risk associated with being at the mercy of China.

    In his piece, Robertson frequently cites American Resources principal Daniel McGroarty, who invokes Adam Smith’s reflection on dependence on foreign resources that “it might not always be prudent to depend upon our neighbors for the supply.” The materials Smith referred to were certainly different at the time – sailcloth and gunpowder – but their strategic relevance at the time is comparable to the relevance of REEs today.

    Outlining the various scenarios drawn up by the DoD report, Robertson closes by explaining how the “sometimes haphazard and fragmented nature of how rare earths are obtained from China” complicate the assessment:

    “Complicating the assessment is the sometimes haphazard and fragmented nature of how rare earths are obtained from China: in the south of the country, tens of thousands of metric tonnes of rare earths are thought to be wrung from the ground, and refined and exported, by a chaotic chain of fly-by-night mining operators — none of those figures go into the official books. Estimates for that illicit activity range from 10,000 to 40,000 metric tonnes per year.”

    At the height of its production, Molycorp, a U.S.-based miner of rare earth elements that was hit hard by China’s rock-bottom prices, says it planned to produce 20,000 metric tonnes of product in 2012. This means the underground Chinese supply component could be as much as double the entire U.S. supply, which goes some way to illustrating the opaque and potentially volatile nature of Chinese supply.
    “Think about how nervous that would make a Pentagon planner,” McGroarty says.

    Quite a bit, seems to be the answer – and, for good reason, considering the fact that the United States once again ranks worst when it comes to mining permitting delays (an indicator of the time it takes to bring a new mine online) in a renowned annual ranking released by mining advisory firm Behre Dolbear.

  • 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 friends at the National Center for Policy Analysis.

    In his report titled “Rare Earths Mining Potential in the United States,” Tom Danton examines opportunities associated with domestic rare earths exploration and development while outlining the challenges which currently make the U.S. “one of the least desirable countries in which to begin a new mining project,” including state permitting and other regulatory hurdles and environmental and safety concerns.

    Danton concludes:

    “Developing America’s natural resources would provide both economic and security benefits, but unnecessary regulatory and political barriers currently hamper the process. State economies and budgets would also benefit from expanded mineral development, which would in turn improve national trade deficits and energy security.

    America should model Australia’s and Canada’s successful regulations, and dramatically shorten domestic permitting time. The federal government should consider a trade mission to both countries to discover how they permit mines in one-fourth the time it takes in the United States, while meeting similar worker safety and environmental protection goals.”

    To read the full report, which also includes a number of insightful charts and graphs, click here.

  • 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 [...]
  • The OPEC of Rare Earths – China’s Resource Stranglehold and its National Security Implications

    In his latest column for Real Clear World, American Resources Principal Daniel McGroarty zeros in on China’s dominance of the Rare Earths market. Invoking lopsided production numbers – in spite of international efforts to develop Rare Earths outside of China, China’s supply monopoly still hovers at 95 percent – McGroarty likens China’s REE control to [...]
  • New Year’s Resolutions for U.S. Policymakers (Part 2)

    Below is part two of American Resources’ three-part 2012 retrospective. Check out part one here. Traditionally, the New Year is the time when people reflect on the past twelve months and formulate resolutions for the months ahead. As the first hours of 2013 have been dominated by the drama the Fiscal Cliff, our Federal lawmakers [...]
  • German government agency emphasizes domestic resources

    In its Energy Study 2012, the German Mineral Resources Agency (DERA) emphasizes the importance of using domestic raw materials against the backdrop of increased price volatility and supply risk. As summarized by the German daily Handelsblatt, the agency’s core message is as follows (rough translation): Supply shortages are likely to occur not due to due [...]
  • Terminology matters – Clearing up the REE confusion

    As they are a hot commodity right now, talking about Rare Earths Elements is en vogue these days. As fascinating as they are, the terminology associated with this group of minerals composed of the fifteen lanthanoid elements plus Scandium and Yttrium remains confusing to many. To clarify things, American Resources expert and Technology Metals Research [...]