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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
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  • Sustainably Greening the Future: Mining’s Growing Role in the Low-Carbon Transition

    At ARPN, we’ve long made the case that the current push towards a lower-carbon future is not possible without mining, as green energy technology relies heavily on a score of critical metals and minerals.

    In 2017, the World Bank World Bank published The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future, which echoed this conclusion. 

    While, as the World Bank argues“the growing demand for minerals and metals provides economic opportunities for resource-rich developing countries and private sector entities alike, significant challenges will likely emerge if the climate-driven clean energy transition is not managed responsibly and sustainably.”

    In order to support said responsible and sustainable management of the clean energy transition, the World Bank has developed the “Climate-Smart Mining” initiative, a new program designed to help “resource-rich developing countries benefit from the increasing demand for minerals and metals, while ensuring the mining sector is managed in a way that minimizes the social, environmental and climate footprint.”

    According to the World Bank’s program description,

    “Climate-Smart Mining supports the sustainable extraction and processing of minerals and metals to secure supply for clean energy technologies by minimizing the social, environmental, and climate footprint throughout the value chain of those materials by scaling up technical assistance and investments in resource-rich developing countries.” (…)

    Climate-Smart Mining builds on the work the World Bank is doing to help ensure resource-rich developing countries benefit from their mineral resources and manage them in a sustainable manner, while fostering economic growth and development. Our technical support also helps governments improve the investment climate by strengthening governance and building the capacities of key institutions, policy frameworks and legislation.

    The World Bank wants to ensure that resource-rich developing countries also benefit from the new mineral demand by de-risking investments using sustainable and responsible resource development strategies.”

    The World Bank has put together a great infographic capturing both the challenges ahead and the way the ways in which its initiative will seek to support tackling them:

    As we recently pointed out, advances in technology harnessed by the modern mining industry make it possible to restore a balance between mining and environmental protection – a position recently shared by Fleming Voetman, VP for Public Affairs at the International Copper Association, who, in a piece for GreenBiz, outlined how “[i]ndustries are responding by recognizing their responsibility and trying to meet the increased expectations of consumers, society and governments,” and are partnering with the World Bank and other institutions and organizations to move forward to sustainably greening the future.

    In the coming months, as the Climate-Smart Mining initiative unfolds, we will keep tabs on these and similar efforts on our blog.

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  • “Something Does not Come from Nothing” – Formulation of Mineral Resource Strategy Should be a Precursor to Green Energy Debate

    “Something does not come from nothing. That fact can be easily forgotten when it comes to seemingly abstract concepts like ‘energy,’” writes Angela Chen in a new piece for technology news and media network The Verge. Chen zeroes in on four key metals and minerals that have become indispensable components of green energy technology – Neodymium, Copper, Lithium and Cobalt. She writes:

    “As the climate change crisis worsens, more politicians are starting to underscore the importance of transitioning to clean energy. More clean energy means more solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and large-scale batteries. But it also means more demand for the materials that make those technologies possible.”

    If this sounds familiar to followers of ARPN, it’s because it is.  Discussing 21st Century technology and its backbone – i.e. the metals and minerals underpinning it – we have previously argued that: “You need ‘stuff’ to make ‘stuff,’ and that “[i]t’s time to remind ourselves that life as we know it is made possible by the inventive use of metals and minerals. Smart phones, the Cloud, the Internet: These things may seem to work by magic, but quite often the backbone of high-tech is mineral and metal, not fairy dust.” 
    It is an important reminder that has so far been largely ignored in the context of the hotly-debated Green New Deal, revealing an inherent irony of 21st century environmentalism.  As we pointed out last week:

    “If we want to make the transition to a green-tech and clean energy future, we will continue to rely on critical minerals – which is why current efforts to formulate a comprehensive mineral resource strategy should be a precursor to any serious discussion on this matter.” 

    It is critical to have this conversation now — as underscored by a recent Congressional hearing during which Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Industrial Minerals and member of the ARPN panel of issue experts, alerted U.S. Senators to the fact that the U.S. is already falling behind in one key green energy area – battery technology and energy storage. Moores called the U.S. a “bystander” in the current battery arms race.  
    Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski agreed, and called the United States’ growing reliance on mineral imports our “Achilles’ heel that serves to empower and enrich other nations, while costing us jobs and international competitiveness.” 
    She continued:

    “Over the past several years, our committee has sought to call attention to our reliance on foreign nations for minerals. The administration has taken several important steps, but we must complement their actions with congressional legislation.”

    Here’s hoping that they do. 
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  • Green New Deal’s Inherent Irony: Renewable Energy Sources Rely Heavily on Critical Minerals, the Domestic Development of Which Proponents Oppose

    There is much talk about the so-called “Green New Deal,” a concept originally floated by the Green Party and now championed by newly-elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).  Amidst much of the information (and misinformation) that is being spread with regards to the plan that seeks to implement a sweeping transition to green renewable energy, one aspect has [...]
  • McGroarty Warns of Real World Problem for 21st Century American Warrior

    In a new commentary for Investor’s Business Daily, ARPN principal Daniel McGroarty warns of “America’s unilateral disarmament in the resource wars.”  Invoking the world of Marvel comics, in which Vibranium is the imaginary metal used for Captain America’s shield, IronMan’s exoskeleton, and Black Panther’s energy-absorbing suit, McGroarty argues that the 21st Century American warrior (perhaps [...]
  • Copper and the 2018 Critical Minerals List – Considerations for Resource Policy Reform

    While we’re still waiting for policy makers and other stakeholders to take further action, in 2018 an important step was taken to set the stage for mineral resource policy reform with the release of the Department of Interior’s List of 35 Minerals Deemed Critical to U.S. National Security and the Economy. Throughout the drafting stage [...]
  • 2018 – A Year of Incremental Progress?

    In case you hadn’t noticed amidst holiday preparations, travel arrangements and the usual chaos of everyday life – 2019 is just around the corner, and with that, the time to reflect on the past twelve months has arrived. So here is ARPN’s recap of 2018: Where we began. Unlike previous years, we started 2018 with [...]
  • Gold Leapfrogged by “Obscure and Far Less Sexy” Metal – A Look at Palladium

    Valuable and precious, Gold, for example in jewelry, is a popular go-to for gifts during the holidays.  Who knew that gold’s luster would be dimmed by a metal that “scrubs your exhaust,” as the New York Times phrased it?  It may still not end up under many Christmas trees, but Palladium, an “obscure and far less sexy [...]
  • U.S. To Partner With Australia on Critical Minerals R&D

    During an industry event in Melbourne, Australian Resources Minister Matt Canavan announced that Australia and the United States are going to sign a preliminary agreement to foster mineral research and development cooperation between the two countries. The announcement comes on the heels of the release of U.S. Department of Interior’s list of 35 metals and [...]
  • The “Indispensable Twins” of Critical Minerals – Niobium and Tantalum

    In the latest installment of his “Critical Minerals Alaska” series for North of 60 Mining News, Shane Lasley zeroes in on what USGS has dubbed the “indispensable twins” – Niobium and Tantalum. Both share “nearly indistinguishable physical and chemical properties” and are “critical to the defense, energy and high-tech sectors.”  Meanwhile, neither Niobium nor Tantalum are mined in the United States, so their inclusion [...]
  • Hot Off the Press: “Groundbreaking” Reading Material – ARPN Expert Co-Authors Book Sounding Alarm on Over-Reliance on Foreign Minerals

    Scratch your holiday wish list – there’s a new book you’ll have to add. In the just-released “Groundbreaking! America’s New Quest for Mineral Independence” member of the ARPN expert panel Ned Mamula, an adjunct scholar in geosciences at the Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute, and “Rare Mettle”author Ann Bridges sound the alarm on the United States’ [...]

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