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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
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  • USGS Highlights U.S. Mineral Resource Dependence and Associated Risks

    At ARPN, we have long argued that our over-reliance on foreign minerals is problematic – particularly in light of the fact that the United States itself is home to vast mineral resources.

    Recognizing the importance of the issue, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which has long been a formidable source of relevant data and statistics (such as the annual Mineral Commodity Summaries reports), has recently begun placing a greater emphasis on U.S. mineral resource dependence.

    Case in point: A new write-up on the issue entitled Risk and Reliance: The U.S. Economy and Mineral Resources” and released on April 21, 2017, in which analysts outline the challenge of net import reliance, defined as “the percentage of a mineral commodity used by the United States that must be imported from another country.”

    According to USGS, the fact that “in 2016, the United States was 100 percent dependent on foreign sources for 20 of the 90 mineral commodities that USGS tracks,” matters for the following reasons:

    “The overall net import reliance of the United States for mineral commodities is important, because it affects the risk of the supply of these minerals for the U.S. economy and national security. The path by which these minerals reach the United States ranges from production and extraction, through refining, to shipping and transport. An interruption at any of those points can affect the supply.

    Some minerals that the United States depends on are produced in, or must pass through, areas that have political stability issues. In addition, some minerals that the United States relies on are produced in areas that have historically opposed the United States in other political arenas.

    In addition, some minerals are not produced or used in large supplies, so an interruption in the flow of that mineral, no matter how small, can have an immediate effect.”

    Providing further context and offering a visualization of the issue, USGS recently discussed the sourcing of materials used in smartphones:

    A World of Minerals in Your Mobile Device

    (Graphic created by USGS)

    According to the April 4, 2017 release, smartphones truly are global devices because of their worldwide communication ability and their multinational ingredient list. However, as USGS’s Larry Meinert points out, “with minerals being sourced from all over the world, the possibility of supply disruption is more critical than ever.”

    As resource supply issues have far-reaching implications for our nation’s economy and national security, the need for a comprehensive mineral resource strategy should be pretty obvious. However, so far, stakeholders have so far failed to devise a policy framework conducive to harnessing our mineral resource potential and reducing foreign dependencies. Here’s hoping that USGS’s stronger emphasis on the issue will help pave the way for overdue reforms in this area.

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  • The U.S. Tomahawk Strike – Syria, Russia … and China?

    While the world media mulls the impact of the U.S. airstrike on Syria in the wake of the sarin gas attack and marvel at the accuracy of the Tomahawk cruise missile, friends of ARPN are reminded that the rare earths critical to the Tomahawk’s terminal guidance system are sourced from China.

    An interesting sidebar to the U.S.-China Summit taking place today.

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  • Guest Commentary: Jeff Green On New Congressional REE Policy Initiative

    The following is a guest post by American Resources expert and J.A. Green & Company president and founder Jeffery A. Green The United States has placed itself in a very precarious situation with respect to its ability to produce and refine strategic and critical materials. Over the past few years we have willfully ceded our last remaining [...]
  • Cobalt – First Steps Towards Reducing Mineral Resource Dependencies?

    A recent piece for InvestorIntel zeroes in on a metal which, due to its growing use in battery technology, coupled with a challenging supply scenario is increasingly afforded “critical mineral” status – Cobalt. A co-product of Nickel and Copper, the metal’s recent history, as author Lara Smith argues, has been “chaotic.” ARPN agrees that about sums it up. Criticism regarding the [...]
  • Interview: AEMA’s Laura Skaer – The Mining Industry’s Challenges and a Look Ahead

    For the last few months, politics has sucked up much of the oxygen in Washington, DC and around the country.  With the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States behind us, many of us are hopeful that the time has come to finally shift the focus away from politics toward policy. Against the backdrop [...]
  • Through the Gateway: “Fairy Dust” Supply Woes Loom

    As we continue our look Through the Gateway, comes a stern reminder by way of Canada that the geopolitics of resource supply represents a complex issue warranting comprehensive policy approaches.   And it literally concerns a metal that touches us — more precisely, we touch it — every day, too many times to count. A decision to [...]
  • Through the Gateway: Vanadium – Next-Gen Uses Drive Co-Product Challenge

    As we continue our look “Through the Gateway,” one thing has become abundantly clear already:  Beyond their traditional uses, both Gateway Metals and their Co-Products have become building blocks of our renewable energy future.  This held true for Copper and its Co-Products, but it is also equally true for Aluminum and its Co-Products. While Gallium’s [...]
  • Through the Gateway: The Copper Gap That Needn’t Be

    Lately, web searches for “Copper” have seemed to turn up stories about the metal’s woes on the global commodity market on a daily basis.  Like many of its hard-rock commodity peers, Copper has seen its price decline over the past five years. However, there is good reason to believe that the self-corrective nature of commodity [...]
  • As Japan Retreats, US Dozes Off Again On Critical Minerals

    Over the course of the last few months, slumping prices have prompted Japanese companies to reassess their rare metals strategies and cancel cooperative agreements that were once considered a high priority. As Nikkei Asian Review reports, state-owned Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC) has cancelled a joint exploration contract for a tungsten mine in [...]
  • USGS Rings Alarm Bell: United States’ Mineral Resource Dependencies Have Increased Drastically

    Without fanfare, and largely unnoticed at a time when all eyes in our nation’s political circles are on Iowa, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has released a report that should be required reading for all our policy makers. Analyzing data collected from 1954 through 2014 for more than 90 non-fuel mineral commodities from more [...]

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