American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • resource dependency

  • HOMEPAGE >> BLOG >> resource dependency
  • Mamula & Moore: Current Federal Policy Efforts Opportunity for “Huge Turnaround for Reducing Dangerous Mineral Imports Through Responsible Mining”

    In a new piece for National Review, geoscientist Ned Mamula, who is an adjunct scholar at the Center for the study of Science at the Cato Institute and a member of the ARPN panel of experts and Heritage Foundation senior fellow Stephen Moore offer up their take on the current – and long overdue – push to reduce our over-reliance on foreign non-fuel mineral imports.

    Followers of ARPN are well aware that, as Mamula and Moore argue,

    “Mineral imports have steadily increased for at least the past two decades because draconian permitting requirements and environmental opposition have made it hard to supply those needs from sources within the U.S. Now there is not enough domestic mining to meet robust manufacturing demand.

    However, the real problem is that more and more mineral imports are coming from China, Russia, and third-world dictatorships.”

    Against this backdrop, the recent executive order “to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals for the nation” and the subsequent release of a draft list of 35 metals and minerals critical to U.S. national security is a welcome development.

    The piece includes an interesting chart that combines the draft list with one of ARPN’s favorite charts – the 2018 iteration of USGS’s page six of its annual Mineral Commodity Summaries report.

    Mamula and Moore place much of the blame for our ever-increasing import dependency on misguided environmental overreach. They write:

    “The problem is definitely not a shortage of domestic mineral sources. In fact, the U.S. is well endowed with mineral resources, according to numerous reports by the USGS. The nation was much more mineral self-sufficient in the 1990s, when it led the world in mining output. Since then, however, the U.S. has lost much of its capacity to mine, refine, smelt, or process critical minerals and metals because of a broad anti-mining agenda among many of the more militant environmental groups.  

    Ironically and unfortunately, ‘greens’ oppose many mineral-resource policies that would actually facilitate environmentally beneficial outcomes, such as renewable energy.” 

    In spite of the vastness of mineral riches beneath U.S. soil, they argue, “poor federal stewardship policies that restrict exploration in areas of known mineral deposits” have led to “dangerous” mineral resource dependencies.

    Mamula and Moore see the executive order and resulting policies as an opportunity for a “huge turnaround for reducing dangerous mineral imports through responsible mining:”

    “This EO commits the country to reducing its vulnerability from mineral-import overreliance while paving the way for a cleaner and safer planet through existing and new technologies used by America’s mining industry. Increased domestic mining of abundant mineral resources is absolutely necessary for the economic health of our nation and is a long overdue America First strategy.”

    Click here for the full piece.

    Also, read Daniel McGroarty’s public comments on the DOI draft list here.

  • Green: Over-reliance on Foreign Mineral Imports “Fiscally Foolish and Politically Dangerous”

    In a new piece for The Hill, member of the ARPN expert panel and president and founder of Washington, DC-based government relations firm J.A.Green & Company Jeff A. Green stresses the national security risks associated with our over-reliance on foreign sources of supply for key mineral resources.

    Citing FBI Director Christopher Wray, who recently told Congress that China is seeking to undermine the United States’ military, economic, cultural and information power across the globe, Green argues that

    “[a] major contributor to China’s rising power, and one of its primary trade weapons, is its near-monopoly over several minerals and materials that the United States military relies on to maintain its technological edge.”

    As Green points out, our mineral resource dependencies have grown significantly over the last few decades, and the risk of supply chain disruptions looms large:

    “Given the nation’s increased foreign dependence, adversarial nations that provide these minerals, such as China and Russia, have gained geopolitical leverage at exactly the wrong time. Russia now poses a national security threat across multiple domains, and China has demonstrated an “impressive military buildup…across almost every domain,” according to the head of U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Harry Harris.

    And yet, as of 2017 China was still a major supplier of 26 commodities to the United States that are essential for aerospace and defense applications. Given that the United States possesses mineral reserves worth $6.2 trillion, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), continuing to rely on imports is fiscally foolish and politically dangerous.”

    Green commends the administration for taking steps that begin to address the issue, and cites various executive orders and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s draft list of 35 minerals that are considered essential to U.S. National Security.

    Meanwhile, he argues, the U.S. Congress has so far missed opportunities to enact legislation that would address one of the key obstacles to domestic mineral resource development – an outdated and convoluted permitting structure.  Rep. Mark Amodei’s (R, Nev.) “National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act,” and Sen. Dean Heller’s (R, Nev.) identical Senate bill would “remove a significant barrier to entry, and expedite the mining permit process to no more than 30 months,” but so far, Congress has failed to take steps to pass these bills.  Writes Green:

    “The White House, through its executive orders, has shown that it understands the risks of the current, laborious mine permitting system in the United States, and recognizes the potential rewards for encouraging new sources of critical materials. Whether through Amodei’s bill or another mechanism, Congress should also act to mitigate these risks and encourage new efforts.” 

    To read the full piece, click here.

  • New USGS Mineral Resource Commodity Summaries Report – An Important Reminder to Keep Momentum Going for Policy Overhaul

    Without much fanfare, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) released its annual Mineral Commodity Summaries report at the end of January. Followers of ARPN will know that we usually await the release of said study with somewhat bated breath. However, this year was slightly different, as the context in which to embed this year’s report [...]
  • Happy Birthday, Air Force – Ready For The Next Seventy Years?

    As the Air Force celebrates its 70th birthday this week, now is not only the time to commend this branch of our military for its dedication to defending America and safeguarding our freedoms. It is also an opportune time to evaluate the state of the Force and look ahead. Doing just that at the Annual [...]
  • Graphite: At the Core of Your Pencil, 21st Century Technology, and Geopolitical Resource Warfare

    It may be its most well-known use, but Graphite today is at the core of more than just your pencil – it is at the core of 21st Century consumer technology.  Just ask Elon Musk. The Tesla Motors CEO and futurist recently insinuated that the label “Lithium-Ion battery” may actually be a misnomer for the batteries that power [...]
  • A Look at Gateway Metal Import Dependence: Copper – 25 Years of Rising Dependence

    If our trip Through the Gateway holds one lesson so far, it’s that old patterns and paradigms are out the window.  Advances in technology and materials sciences have changed the applications for many mainstay metals and are fueling demand.   As we have outlined, the same applies for numerous rare tech metals, which are primarily sourced [...]
  • Is Lithium the New Black?

    At a time when mineral commodities have been slumping, one material is proving to be the exception to the rule, leading many to hail lithium as “a rare bright spot for miners, amid cratering prices of raw materials tied to heavy industry such as iron ore to coal.”  Via our friend Simon Moores, managing director [...]
  • McGroarty before U.S. Senate Committee: “Increased Resource Dependence Jeopardizes U.S. Economic Strength and Manufacturing Might”

    In his testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on “the Near-Term Outlook for Energy and Commodities Markets” last week, ARPN Principal Daniel McGroarty argues that while in the long-run, the market is self-corrective, there are certain actions that should be taken while we wait for that long-run to arrive if [...]
  • U.S. Mineral Resource Dependency Continues to Spell Trouble

    For children, it’s the arrival of the first snow each year – for policy wonks, it’s the release of an annual study.  Whereas kids run to check the window multiple times a day once snow has been forecast, policy wonks continuously check for updates on the release of that study when it’s that time of [...]
  • Food for thought for world leaders discussing climate change

    This week, world leaders are gathering in Paris to push for an agreement on climate change, which could spell the end of the fossil era, and ring in the age of post-carbon technology.  In a recent piece for the New York Times, David S. Abraham points to an important, yet oft-ignored paradox: “(…) even as our leaders [...]