American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • 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 report conducted by an independent Australian company, which detected a deposit of roughly 20,100 tonnes of Rare Earth oxides underneath the village of Storkwitz between Leipzig and Dessau.

    As the German weekly Wirtschaftswoche suspects, it probably won’t be long until opposition to the development efforts will be voiced:

    “Regardless of the amount, it will take a long time until the metals can actually be mined. The residents of Storkwitz likely will not be thrilled to see their village turn into a huge construction site. It wouldn’t be the first project in Germany to get held up by protests and petition drives.”

    The Wirtschaftswoche’s commentary touches on an interesting (though not overly surprising) point which raises the specter of hypocrisy: Like the United States, where environmentalists are quick to demonize the domestic development of the very minerals upon which their preferred energy sources so heavily rely. Germany, whose Chancellor has made trips to Mongolia and Kazakhstan to sign Rare Earths development agreements, apparently is no stranger to the “Not in My Backyard” sentiment.

  • 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 known as a primary vacation destination for some – Jamaica.

    According to the Associated Press, a team of Japanese researchers has found what they consider highly viable concentrations of Rare Earth Elements in Jamaica’s red mud. Nippon Light Metal Company Limited, the Tokyp-based aluminum company to commission the research, has “put up US $3 million for a pilot project that could result in Jamaica earning billions in foreign exchange.”

    As the Jamaica Observer reports, the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has given “tentative support” to the pilot project, which was announced by Jamaica’s government last week.

    As the global race for resources heats up and we’re seeing new players entering the stage, it is encouraging to see at least parts of the United States government take steps towards addressing our mineral resource supply challenges, as the Department of Energy with the launch of its new critical materials research hub. With the second term of the Obama Administration beginning this week, we’ll hopefully see a more forceful and coherent approach to this issue, which has yet to receive the attention it deserves.

  • 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 [...]
  • The “cultural necessity” of Rare Earths

    This week, the San Francisco Chronicle zeroed in on Rare Earths. Pointing to the “cultural necessity” of REEs – columnist Brooks Mencher calls them “as critical to the Age of Technology as cement and steel were to the Age of Industry” – the article discusses the relevance of Rare Earths against the backdrop of China’s [...]
  • Tungsten and Fluorspar – strategic implications of mineral resource supply issues stretch beyond REEs

    You wouldn’t necessarily expect to find Tungsten and Fluorspar mentioned in the same sentence as “Rare Earth Metals.” With its traditional applications in ballistics, the former is historically known as a “war metal,” while the latter has been an important component for chemical applications. And in spite of the fact that Tungsten makes the top [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]