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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
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  • 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 development investigations during his previous employment with leading scientific and intelligence agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Energy, and Central Intelligence Agency.

    Over the course of his career, Dr. Mamula has briefed key members of Congress, the executive branch, and various corporate officers. His writings have appeared in numerous scientific journals, and also with the Cato Institute, R Street Institute, Forbes, American Spectator, Real Clear Policy, and U.S. News and World Report. His presentation on America’s need for critical minerals was broadcast live on C-SPAN.

    Dr. Mamula served on the Trump Transition Team as an advisor and subject matter expert for the Department of the Interior on geoscience issues including energy, minerals, and federal lands. He received his M.S. in economic geology from Penn State University, Ph.D. in petroleum geology and geophysics from Texas A&M University, and Masters in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies.

    Recently, at the Cato Institute, and other Washington think tanks, he has written and spoken extensively on resource policy, mining, critical and strategic minerals demand, international supply chain vulnerabilities, and the geopolitics of energy and mineral policy. We recently featured his latest piece for The Hill, in which he and his colleague William Murray called for a turnaround in our nation’s ill-advised resource policies which “have contributed to our current addiction to imported minerals.”

    He has been Cato’s principal presenter of geoscience Policy Forums and Capitol Hill Briefings on energy and mineral resource issues, exploration and production technology advances, and the role of federal regulations in resource development.

    If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Mamula’s current work, look no further than his four installments on “Strategic Minerals” published by the Capital Research Center.

    In this series of posts, Dr. Mamula aptly outlines how decades of “poor stewardship on the part of the federal government” and “severe restrictions imposed at the behest of the environmentalist movement” have effectively put the United States at the mercy of China and other nations to meet our non-fuel mineral resource needs. He analyzes the underlying reasons and provides options for a path forward.

    All four installments of Dr. Mamula’s “Strategic Minerals” series can be accessed here:

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  • Materials Science Profiles of Progress – Researchers Turn to Bioengineered Bacteria to Recover REEs

    Followers of ARPN are well aware that we have been calling out policy makers and other stakeholders for their inaction when it comes to working towards the development of a coherent, forward-looking and comprehensive mineral resource strategy – and we frequently point to missed opportunities to work towards this goal.

    While we stand by our criticism, there have also been some positive developments in recent years, largely brought about by the ongoing revolution in materials science, and over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting some of these ”Materials Science Profiles of Progress” on our blog. Call it our attempt at positive reinforcement.  

    The most recent development we’d like to feature in this context comes via the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), a Department of Energy research hub led by Ames National Laboratory and a team of research partners which strives ”to develop solutions across the materials lifecycle as well as reduce the impact of supply chain disruptions and price fluctuations associated with these valuable resources.”

    Tied into the overall CMI effort, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have discovered a new method to recover Rare Earth Elements (REEs) using bioengineered bacteria. 

    According to the Lab’s own announcement, 

    ”[m]any recent studies have looked at the use of biomass for adsorption of REEs. However, REE adsorption by bioengineered systems has been scarcely documented, and rarely tested with complex natural feedstocks. 

    But in the new research, the LLNL team recovered rare earth elements from low-grade feedstock (raw material supplied to a machine or processing plant) using engineered bacteria.”

    Said Yongqin Jiao, one of the team’s lead researchers:

    ”Non-traditional REE resources, such as mine tailings, geothermal brines and coal byproducts, are abundant and offer a potential means to diversify the REE supply chain. However, no current technology exists that is capable of economic extraction of rare earths from them, which creates a big challenge and an opportunity.

    (…) 

    Our results demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of coupling bioengineering with biosorption for REE extraction from low-grade feedstocks.”

    ARPN followers know about the importance of Rare Earth Elements, which, while graced with obscure-sounding names — our favorite is Dysprosium, derived from the Greek dysprositos, “hard to get” — are becoming increasingly indispensable components of 21st century gadgetry and high-tech industrial applications, as well as green energy and defense applications. With the United States’ import reliance for REEs having climbed back to 100% (after a recent brief but temporary reduction) and with more than 90 percent of all global supply coming from China, the supply issue has become ever-more pressing.

    While the bio-recovery effort is certainly no panacea, it represents a commendable step towards reducing our overall mineral resource dependencies – and bears testimony to the ways in which materials science is transforming the way in which we use and obtain metals and minerals. 

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  • “Time to Start Digging, America”

    In a recent piece for The Hill, William Murray, federal energy policy manager, and Ned Mamula, associate fellow for the Washington, D.C.-based R Street Institute, lament that while policy makers and stakeholders are increasingly focusing on energy security issues, leaders are failing to pay “the same attention to a national security risk at least as [...]
  • National Mining Association Urges Focus on Deterioration of Domestic Metal and Mineral Supply Chains

    In a detailed letter to Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. John G. “Jerry” McGinn, Katie Sweeney, General Counsel of the National Mining Association, urges the Department of Defense to “acknowledge the importance of domestic metals and minerals to meet our defense needs” as the agency moves forward to implement Executive Order 13806, “Assessing [...]
  • New Report Zeroes in on Geopolitics of Renewable Energy 

    While the geopolitics of fossil fuels are well established, we at ARPN have long lamented the lack of awareness regarding the geopolitical implications of non-fuel mineral resource supply and demand. For that reason, we were very pleased to see a recently released study co-authored by Meghan L. O’Sullivan of Harvard University’s Kennedy School, Indra Overland [...]
  • ARPN’s McGroarty for Investor’s Business Daily: U.S. Mineral Resource Dependence a “Clear and Present Danger”

    Against the backdrop of growing threats to U.S. security – recent flash points involve Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea – a new Presidential Executive Order “On Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States,” zeroes in on defense readiness. The E.O. requires heads from various [...]
  • Critical Materials Institute Meets “Stretch Goal” to Produce REE Magnet Domestically

    Meeting one of its “stretch goal[s] to demonstrate that rare-earth magnets could be produced from mine to manufacturer, here in the United States,” the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) a U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Hub, has announced that the has fabricated magnets made entirely of domestically sourced and refined REEs.  This success was achieved in [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]

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