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  • 2020 – A Twofold Watershed Year for Rare Earths?

    Against the backdrop of the recently-signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) for critical materials between the U.S. and Canada to reduce U.S. reliance on Chinese Rare Earths supplies, and the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which  “has expanded its recognition of the critical importance of the rare earths” … “2020 looks to be a pivotal year for rare earths,”says Investor Intel’s Jack Lifton.

    According to Lifton, the fact that the NDAA has furthered the FY 2019 mandate from requiring that the U.S. military only buy non-Chinese REE permanent magnets to now requiring that DOD develop and implement a strategy “to discover or develop and integrate each of the necessary industrial components into a total domestic American rare earth supply chain for any and all rare earth enabled products utilized by the U.S. [Department] of Defense” represents the “greatest opportunity to revive a non-Chinese rare earth industry, since the movement to China of that industry in the last years of the twentieth century.”

    The opportunity is twofold. 

    A push to diversify the U.S. rare earths supply chain also provides a chance to address one of its inherent ironies —the fact that “the materials needed for green energy, such as in wind turbines, are currently being acquired by destroying the Chinese countryside.”

    We all know the green revolution is coming.  In the words of J.A. Green & Company president and ARPN expert panel member Jeff Green, going green “will force us to address the externalities of foreign extractive industries in order to build an economy that sustains opportunity for life and growth for the maximum number of people.

    With that in mind, in 2020, the U.S. government “should show leadership and make a deliberate choice to encourage more responsible rare earth sourcing,” says Green.

    As we have previously pointed out, industries are responding, harnessing advances in technology which make it possible increasingly to restore a balance between mining and environmental protection. 

    In 2020 we may in fact see the “culmination of nearly 10 years of effort to move the U.S. government from endless studies and research projects to actually investing in the production of rare earth materials needed to support the Department of Defense,” as Green has phrased it.   In this context, the U.S. Government can tap into “technologies and mine sites in the United States and other environmentally responsible countries that are worth investigating and developing if they will reduce the damage associated with current methods of rare earth production.” 

    Doing so, says Green, could “not only reduce environmental damage but also reduce Chinese leverage on U.S. national security.”

  • Trade Publication Zeroes in on Over-Reliance on Critical Minerals, Cites ARPN’s McGroarty

    Against the backdrop of the upcoming two-year anniversary of the Presidential Executive Order on Critical Minerals, trade publication Industry Week discusses the issue of U.S. over-reliance on foreign mineral resources in its latest issue.

    Recounting some of the key steps taken by the federal government in recent months – i.e. last year’s  Department of the Interior (DoI) list of 35 minerals deemed critical from an economic and national security perspective, and this year’s long-awaited interagency report submitted to the President pursuant to the above-referenced executive order, the piece outlines China’s mineral dominance and willingness to play politics with its status.   

    It cites ARPN’s Dan McGroarty, who during a recent panel discussion reminded attendees that the Chinese-American confrontation “isn’t a trade war for dominance,” and that “the United States can’t beat state-owned companies that are able to stay active with backing of their state (read: China)” — which is why the United States must invest in innovation. 

    During the event, McGroarty called for the federal government to adopt an “all-of-the-above” approach to mineral resource policy in the context of working toward “resource independence,” a comprehensive focus on new mining, recycling and reclamation of new minerals from old mine tailings to alleviate our mineral resource dependencies. 

    While there are indications that the importance of a comprehensive approach is not lost on policy makers from both sides of the political aisle — a bipartisan consensus on how to best get there is yet to be achieved.

    Hopefully, progress is on the horizon here, because as McGroarty pointed out,  “we can’t admire the problem anymore. We don’t have the luxury of time,” because once supply chains are formed, “it’s very difficult to break them, and this will have national security consequences for us.”

  • Tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 10 – U.S. House Committee to Hold Hearing on “Research and Innovation to Address the Critical Materials Challenge”

    On Tuesday, December 10 — close to the two-year anniversary of the White House’s executive order “to develop a federal strategy to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals” the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on “Research and Innovation to Address the Critical Materials Challenge.” The hearing comes against the backdrop of increased [...]
  • Time to Reduce Our Reliance on “Untrustworthy Countries for Strategically Important Minerals”

    As we recover from collective food coma and return to our desks after a tumultuous Thanksgiving travel week, J. Winston Porter, a former EPA assistant administrator in Washington, reminds us of the importance of keeping the focus on the issues associated with our over-reliance on foreign mineral resources.    In a new piece for InsideSources, Porter [...]
  • Sen. Murkowski, Panelists, Underscore Urgency of Securing Critical Mineral Supply Chains

    “With our eyes wide open, we are putting ourselves in the same vulnerable position [as we did with oil and gas decades ago] when it comes to these [critical] minerals,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told the audience at “Minerals: The Overlooked Foundation of Our Future,” an event organized by RealClearPolitics in partnership with our friends [...]
  • India and the Tech Wars: Ripple Effects of the Confrontation over Who Will Dominate the 21st Century Tech Age

    While most of the headlines regarding the trade war between the United States and China — and, for ARPN followers, the underlying tech war over who which country will dominate the 21st Century Technology Age — focus on the main players in Washington, DC and Beijing, the ripple effects of this confrontation can be felt [...]
  • ARPN Expert Panel Member: Any Real Solution to REE Dependence Must Include Investing in Our Domestic Production Capabilities

    “There is more to President Trump’s engagement with Greenland than meets the eye, (…)[h]owever, if policymakers want to get serious about securing U.S. access to rare earths, any real solution must include investing in our domestic production capabilities,” writes Jeff Green, ARPN expert panel member and president and founder of public relations firm J.A. Green & [...]
  • Greenland at the Heart of Resource Race in 21st Century Tech War

    While a deal is not likely to happen, and some question whether the comment was more quip than opening offer, President Trump’s recent interest in buying Greenland from Denmark has done one thing: bring Greenland and the Arctic into focus.   The President’s suggestion has been ridiculed by many, but from a strategic perspective — [...]
  • China’s Leverage: Supply Monopoly Shapes U.S. Policy

    In case you were wondering to what extent foreign powers are shaping domestic policy, the UK’s daily The Telegraph has a great overview piece on how “China’s supply of rare minerals, used in products like the iPhone, is causing a headache for Washington.” Using one of the most popular telecommunications gadgets – the iPhone – [...]
  • China’s Grand Strategy to Exploit United States’ “Soft Underbelly” Goes Beyond Rare Earths

    Much is being made of China’s recent threats to cut off Rare Earth exports to the United States, and the issue has – finally – helped bring the issue of mineral resource policy reform to the forefront.  However, as Ian Easton, research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute and author of The Chinese Invasion Threat, [...]