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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
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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 been largely ignored in the broader media coverage. 
    In a new piece for the Heartland Institute, Ann Bridges, co-author of “Groundbreaking! America’s New Quest for Mineral Independence,” points out an often over-looked detail:

    “Green renewable energy requires literally tons of minerals that currently are unavailable in the quantities required for this transition. Of course, the GND includes no plan for additional mining to supply this broad initiative.”

    Bridges further argues that proponents of the plan appear oblivious to our nation’s degree of import reliance for many of the materials driving green technology, and argues that “if the advocates of the GND wish to limit the threat of war, then the United States needs to become mineral-independent in the same fashion it is now energy-independent.”

    She maintains: 

    “Currently, we are 100 percent import-dependent on China, Russia, and other nations for the tiny rare earth minerals that are the foundation of green technologies, such as the scandium used in fuel cells.

    The United States imports more than half of the 120 known elements in quantities deemed to be critical by the Departments of Defense and the Department of the Interior. These strategic minerals are critical components of wind turbines’ powerful magnets, and they are used to create thin films for solar panels. They are also used in our country’s advanced defense systems.

    This level of import dependence is unnecessary, as we have most of the needed mineral resources underneath our feet, scattered throughout federal lands in the western United States.

    The Green New Deal does nothing to solve this problem. In fact, I’ve seen nothing to suggest GND advocates are even aware of it.”

    As the debate over the Green New Deal moves forward, policy makers need to keep one thing in mind:  
    We can’t have our cake, and eat it, too. 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. 
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  • 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’ [...]
  • Post-Thanksgiving Rut? Back to Basics on Resource Policy Issues

    If you’re still struggling to get your bearings after the long Thanksgiving weekend, you’re not alone. A New York Times piece from this Monday provides a good snapshot of what we are going through –  and offers “4 Ways to Stay Motivated When You’re in a Rut:”  Writes the NYT: “It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving, and we’re all [...]

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