American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Germany jumps into the race for rare earths

    In line with the country’s recent policy shift towards a more active role in the global race for critical mineral resources, a German mining and commodity group has announced its plans to develop a 38,000 tonnes deposit of REEs in the East German state of Saxony.  A newly formed company called Seltenerden Storkwitz AG, which to-date has received 2.2. million Euros from German investors, will kick off drilling operations in the spring of 2012.

    According to the company’s CEO, the German government has been extremely supportive of the project in the context of its new mineral commodity strategy, the implementation of which has been made a priority in spite of the fact that the political agenda remains dominated by the Eurozone crisis.

    Chancellor Merkel, after inking a cooperative REE development treaty with Mongolia, has traveled to resource-rich Angola and Nigeria, and is expected to sign a raw materials deal with Kazakhstan, a country known for vast deposits of manganese, tungsten, copper and molybdenum.  Additional cooperative agreements will likely be sought with South Africa, Peru, and Chile.

    Meanwhile, the formation of a “globally active profit-oriented raw materials corporation,” called the “Alliance for Securing Raw Materials,” has been kicked into high-gear – with the support of the German government, and Merkel as the “door opener” to leaders in resource-rich countries.

    With resource prices remaining high and supply crunches reverberating in many areas, we can expect to see other countries and industry groupings undertake similar efforts. The big question for U.S. policy makers is: Are we aware of our own resource needs (and potential for that matter) and ready to act accordingly?

  • A new “super strong magnetic material” to replace REE-based magnets?

    Northeastern University scientists caused a stir earlier this week with their announcement that they have designed a “super strong magnetic material that may revolutionize the production of magnets found in computers, mobile phones, electric cars and wind-powered generators,” alluding to the possibility of replacing neodymium/praseodymium permanent magnets.

    On his website TechMetalResearch.com, American Resources expert Gareth Hatch cautions against “the now well-worn path of hype disguised as scientific (…) breakthroughs.” Hatch gives a number of reasons why this new magnetic material compound of manganese (Mn) and gallium (Ga) may not be all it’s cracked up to be. In a nutshell, according to Hatch, several of gallium’s properties do not lend themselves to substituting REE-based magnets anytime soon.

    What is interesting to note, however, is that whether or not the material could replace REE-based magnets, it wouldn’t do much to alleviate supply concerns, as in some respects (and particularly from a U.S. standpoint with an import dependency rate hovering between 99% and 100% for all three), manganese, gallium, and REEs, are all “rare.” Substitution simply isn’t always a silver bullet.

  • China to cut export quotas for antimony, tungsten and other specialty metals

    Bearing testimony to the fact that China’s geopolitical power play stretches beyond rare earths elements, around which its restrictive export policies were centered in recent months, China has announced it is going to cut export quotas for other specialty metals as well.   According to Nasdaq, Beijing’s China Daily News and the Rare Earths industry journal have [...]
  • China again tightens REE exports; Japan seeks to diversify supply base.

    Worried about China’s ongoing rare earths stranglehold and further cutbacks of exports, Japan looks to diversify its rare earths supply basis. While a delegation of Japanese business leaders recently urged China to ensure a stable supply to Japan, the Japanese government is stepping up its efforts to find alternative sources for the sought-after commodity. In [...]
  • Mongolia Weighs its Resource Options

    History is typically difficult to see up close, but it’s possible that resources are sparking a great geo-political reordering on par with the mass discoveries of oil that made the Middle East a rising economic power the mid-20th Century.  Witness the country of Mongolia, a geo-political pawn for much of the last hundred years, but [...]
  • REE shortage has GE Lighting reeling

    If you’ve had to replace a light bulb in your home lately, then you have may have noticed that the price for lighting has gone up significantly. The reason behind the price hike is two-fold: 1) recent legislation that passed, mandating the phasing out of the light bulb as we know it, and 2) the current [...]
  • Rhodia, Areva team up to develop REE and Uranium

    Rhodia Rare Earth Systems, one of only two rare earths producers in Europe, has entered into a cooperative agreement with French nuclear group Areva, according to AFP. The agreement between the two companies spells out a plan to jointly develop and exploit previously untapped deposits containing a mix of uranium and rare earths elements (REEs). [...]