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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
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  • Critical Mineral List Finalized – Now Comes the Hard Part

    “Identifying which minerals are ‘critical’ is the easy part. Working out what to do about them is going to be much harder.” 

    – That’s the conclusion Reuters columnist Andy Home draws in his recent piece on the current Administration’s efforts to develop a strategy to reduce import reliance for metals considered “critical to the economic and national security of the United States.”

    Home’s entry point to the issue is a promising mining project in Nebraska aimed at developing Scandium, Niobium and Titanium – all of which have been officially afforded “critical minerals status” in the Department of the Interior’s recently-released list of 35.

    Writes Home:

    “No-one’s mined niobium in the United States since 1959, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The country relies exclusively on imports, mostly from Brazil.

    The same is true of scandium, a metal which, according to NioCorp, has been used for several decades in ‘cutting-edge Soviet and Russian military technologies’ but not by the U.S. armed forces due to a lack of supply.”

    Thus, he says, it comes as no surprise to find these materials on the list, which features a mix of “supply challenged” tech metals and more conventional materials for which USGS has deemed the entire supply chain “problematic.”

    ARPN’s Dan McGroarty has called the list a “great starting point” but also pointed out that it does not include materials like Copper, which “is the gateway to 5 ‘co-product’ metals that are listed as critical, but are not mined in their own right.  And the U.S. has a 600,000 MT copper gap each year – the gap between what we consume and what we produce.”

    With the list of 35 completed, focus will shift towards the report featuring policy recommendations, which the Commerce Department will have to submit to the President by August 16.

    Home says:

    “[I]ncreasing domestic supply across the spectrum of the periodic table is going to be a core recommendation in the report.” 

    This recommendation, as followers of ARPN know, will hinge largely on the improvement of our nation’s outdated and cumbersome permitting structure for mining projects.

    Home also looks at current efforts at the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to reduce our over-reliance on foreign mineral imports, which involve keeping our nation’s current “stockpile” of materials current and R&D efforts in the field of recycling and substitution.

    The bottom line, however, as Home rightfully argues, is that all of these efforts “can only be part of a broader strategy that will have to be both multidimensional and highly flexible.”  In today’s fast-paced high tech world in which the ongoing materials science revolution constantly presents us with new uses for metals and minerals, supply and demand pictures can change dramatically on extremely short notice.

    As Home notes, making a critical list is the easy part.  For stakeholders the hard part comes next.

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  • The Daily Caller: DOI Critical Minerals List Highlights United States’ Over-Reliance on Foreign Mineral Resources

    Heavily quoting from ARPN’s statement on the issue, The Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch earlier this month reported on the Department of the Interior’s finalized list of minerals deemed critical for U.S. national security. Writes Bastasch:

    “President Donald Trump’s administration’s release of a list of 35 critical minerals highlights just how reliant the U.S. is on foreign imports, according to mining advocates.

    ‘What we see is the degree of U.S. dependency — the US is 100 percent import-dependent for 14 of the 35 minerals and more than 50 percent dependent for another 16,’ said Daniel McGroarty, a principal at the American Resources Policy Network, which advocates for domestic mining.

    ‘That’s more than 50 percent dependent for 30 of the 35 minerals on the list — materials that are critical for the national economy, for high-tech, for alternative energy applications, for national security,’ McGroarty added in a statement issued Friday.”

    Bastasch further points to the importance of a number of metals and minerals which may have failed to pass the DOI list’s threshold, but for which the United States is also import reliant:

    “The Interior Department also noted The U.S. is also reliant on other imported minerals not meeting the threshold to be labeled ‘critical minerals.’ These include copper, zinc, molybdenum, gold and silver.

    ‘Take copper, which is not listed,’ McGroarty said. ‘It is the gateway to five ‘co-product’ metals that are listed as critical but are not mined in their own right.’

    ‘And the U.S. has a 600,000 [metric ton] copper gap each year — the gap between what we consume and what we produce,’ McGroarty said.”

    Click here to read Bastasch’s piece, and here to read McGroarty’s full statement on the finalized DOI list.

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  • ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty Comments on DOI’s Release of Final Critical Minerals List

    The Department of the Interior released its final list of Critical Minerals today. The following is ARPN principal Daniel McGroarty’s statement on the list: “DOI issued its final list of Critical Minerals, unchanged at 35.  What we see is the degree of US dependency – the US is 100% import-dependent for 14 of the 35 [...]
  • Congressional Western Caucus Members Call for Expansion of Critical Minerals List

    Earlier this month, members of the Congressional Western Caucus sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and Acting Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Mary Neumayr calling for the inclusion of additional metals and minerals into the draft critical minerals list released by Secretary Zinke [...]
  • Mamula & Moore on Mineral Resource Policy: Time for a Change in Strategy and Philosophy

    “Why is the United States reliant on China and Russia for strategic minerals when we have more of these valuable resources than both these nations combined?” Stephen Moore, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with Freedom Works, and ARPN expert panel member Ned Mamula, a geoscientist and adjunct scholar at the [...]
  • An Early Christmas Present? New Executive Order Calls for National Strategy to Increase Domestic Resource Development

    Only one day after USGS released its new report “Critical Minerals of the United States” – a study which underscores the United States’ over-reliance on foreign minerals – a new executive order directs Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to publish within 60 days a list of critical minerals to be followed by a report (after another [...]
  • Panelists at U.S. House Hearing Stress Dangers of America’s Growing Resource Dependence

    During yesterday’s oversight hearing on the subject of “Examining Consequences of America’s Growing Dependence on Foreign Minerals,” before the House Natural Resources Committee, panelists raised some of the key issues we have consistently highlighted on our blog. Panelists included: Mr. Ronnie Favors, Administrator, U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, Strategic Materials, U.S. Department of Defense Dr. Murray [...]
  • House Committee to Hold Hearing on Growing Resource Dependence on Tuesday

    On Tuesday of this week, the U.S. House Committee on Mineral Resources will be holding an oversight hearing on “Examining Consequences of America’s Growing Dependence on Foreign Minerals.” Witnesses at the hearing, which will begin at 2pm EST, include: Mr. Ronnie Favors, Administrator, U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, Strategic Materials, U.S. Department of Defense Dr. Murray [...]
  • “Materials Science Profiles of Progress” – REE Extraction From Coal

    In the fairy tale realm, Rumpelstilskin was able to turn straw into gold. Meanwhile, in the real world, as part of our feature series “Materials Science Profiles of Progress,” we’re taking a closer look at a recently-announced research partnership that may not be able to turn straw into gold, but promises to extract precious Rare [...]
  • Ned Mamula Joins American Resources Panel of Issue Experts

    We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Ned Mamula, a senior geoscientist with over 30 years of experience in energy and mineral research and resource policy issues, has joined the ARPN Panel of Issue Experts. Currently a scholar with the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, Mr. Mamula has spearheaded resource [...]

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