American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • U.S. Department of Defense Studies Alaska’s Rare Earths Potential

    As the Canadian daily Chronicle Herald reports, the U.S. Department of Defense is conducting a study of Canadian mining company Ucore’s rare earth-rich Bokan Mountain property in southeast Alaska.

    Under the auspices of the Defense Logistics Agency, the study will “focus on the possible development of Bokan Mountain to meet defence department requirements for an ongoing supply of critical heavy rare earth elements.”

    According to Ucore’s President and CEO, the U.S. at present does not possess the necessary capabilities “to produce three critical heavy rare earth elements that occur naturally and in abundance in Bokan Mountain.”

    The fact that the U.S. Department of Defense is focusing on domestic rare earths exploration and development is encouraging, especially considering DoD’s Rare Earths assessment study from this spring, which had largely dismissed a Rare Earths supply crisis. DoD’s conclusion had baffled industry experts, but appeared to reflect a general naiveté and lack of information, which, according to a recent American Resources study called: “Reviewing Risk: Critical Metals & National Security,” pervades government agencies when it comes to assessing our nation’s critical mineral needs. Perhaps the Department of Defense’s Bokan Mountain efforts indicate a shift at the defense establishment towards a new understanding that Rare Earths and many other metals and minerals are critical to our national security needs.

  • Recycling of specialty metals fraught with challenges

    As the usage of specialty or “tech metals” grows with their ever-diversifying utilities, so do related supply issues. One of the most popular and most frequently mentioned options to address such challenges is recycling.

    However, a Forbes Magazine piece points out that as Barbara Reck, research scientist at Yale University’s Center for Industrial Ecology, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, has found, there are a number of factors restraining recycling efforts for metals. Reck explains that while certain problems apply to all metals, specialty metals recycling in particular is fraught with challenges as they are generally used very sparingly in high-tech applications:

    “In such applications, mixing of materials is extensive, separation technology is challenging, and the economics are often unfavorable because of the small amounts involved. The trend to use specialty metals is increasing, and given the short lifetimes of many electronic devices, end-of-life losses will also increase sharply soon unless better recycling management options are found.”

    Ultimately, there are numerous very good reasons for recycling, but it is a far cry from being the silver bullet to alleviate supply concerns, as some would have you believe.

    As part of a comprehensive mineral strategy focused on securing mineral supplies, recycling efforts should go hand in hand with a sound trade policy, and the exploration and development of domestic metals and minerals in their own rights, as well as byproduct recovery – which is the topic of the latest American Resources quarterly report entitled: “Through the Gateway. Gateway Metals and the Foundations of American Technology.”

  • ARPN Expert View: “East China Sea one front in larger resource wars”

    Two years after China’s Rare Earths embargo on Japan and subsequent supply shortages put the until-then largely obscure group of critical minerals on the map, tensions between the two countries are reaching new heights, with the specter of war looming. At the heart of the current tensions lies a territorial “tug-of-war” over five tiny – [...]
  • Germany raises Rare Earths issue with China as part of comprehensive resource strategy

    While the EU, Japan and the United States have challenged China’s restrictive Rare Earths export policies before the World Trade Organization (WTO), German Chancellor Angela Merkel appears to have chosen a less confrontational route for Germany’s bilateral relationship with China. During her state visit to China, Merkel offered to partner with Beijing in efforts to [...]
  • Race for Seabed’s Mineral Riches Heats Up

    The global race for resources is heating up, with the latest frontier being the seabed beneath the world’s oceans. Last year’s discovery of significant Rare Earth deposits by Japanese researchers on the seabed of the Pacific Ocean seems to have set of a flurry of activity on the part of countries trying to gain access [...]
  • The race is on for North American Rare Earths

    While most Rare Earths-related stories focus on China these days, there’s no denying that the race for critical mineral resources has arrived on the North American continent. As the Fairbanks Daily News Miner reports, Alaska State geologists are excited by the findings of recent mineral cataloguing efforts, with a new $3 million program underway. The [...]
  • REEs, National Security and Gateway Metals

    A REE World Report titled ‘Political Squeeze Play and the Rare Earth Revolution’ on Rare Metal Blog highlights the implications of U.S. dependency on foreign supplies of Rare Earths for our military. Here are some of the report’s key points: • The current WTO case brought on against China by the U.S., European Union and [...]
  • China Tinkers With Rare Earth Policy While U.S. Delays Critical Mining Projects

    China has announced a series of moves designed to place additional controls on global rare earth metal supply. Meanwhile, U.S. Federal and state policymakers continue to dither over domestic mining policy initiatives. According to the National Mining Association, the US has $6.2 trillion dollars of mineral reserves, but it also has one of the slowest [...]
  • American Resources expert discusses defense implications of rare earth shortages in new policy brief

    Earlier this year, a Department of Defense analysis stunned many with its conclusion that concerns about Rare Earths supply shortages were exaggerated. Jeffery A. Green, founder of the Strategic Material Advisory Council and American Resources expert, explains how the Pentagon misses the mark in its assessment in a new policy brief for the Center for [...]
  • Chinese-Japanese tensions to rise again over Rare Earths

    China’s suspension of Rare Earth shipments to Japan in the fall of 2010 kicked off a firestorm and has largely contributed to the extensive media coverage Rare Earth supply issues have received in recent months. While shipments were since resumed, reports that Japan is diversifying its supply sources have surfaced from time to time. But [...]