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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Uranium: From “Benign Neglect” to a Smart Strategy?

    In a recent piece for the Washington Times, ARPN panel of expert member and author of “Groundbreaking!: America’s New Quest for Mineral Independence,” Ned Mamula and columnist and consultant for FreedomWorks Stephen Moore zero in on Uranium.

    Embedding the discussion in the context of American mining and production of critical minerals in recent decades being “a self-inflicted wound that could imperil our economy and national security,” they point to the fact that while the United States is home to vast domestic Uranium resources and reserves, “more than 90 percent of U.S. uranium requirements are now imported.” More than 40 percent of the total of these imports, come from a “potentially adversarial trading bloc,” Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

    “This is not a friendly free-market group that America can depend on, especially in an emergency,” they lament. 

    Globally, the percentage of uranium production “coming from state-controlled companies not located in Western market-based economies,” is on the rise.

    Meanwhile, domestic issues have contributed to a drastic decrease in U.S. uranium production prompting U.S. Congressmen Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Rob Bishop (R -Utah), and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), spoke of a “dying” industry in an op-ed for Fox News earlier this year.  

    Acknowledging the national security implications of the issue, earlier this summer, President Trump announced the formation of a “U.S. Nuclear Fuel Working Group” to conduct a “fuller analysis of national security considerations with respect to the entire nuclear fuel supply chain.” The findings of the working group are due soon, and it will be interesting to see what the recommendations to alleviate “America’s Uranium crisis” are going to be. 

    Moore and Mamula argue that — as non-supporters of trade protectionism they are unsure what the best solution to address the issue of imports coming from “nations that are not allies,” but one thing is certain, they argue:

    “The strategy of benign neglect is not working and must be replaced with a smart strategy that ensures reliable and affordable uranium for years to come.”

    ***

    To read the full piece, click here.

    For more context, see Ned Mamula’s series for Capital Research Center on “Uranium, an underappreciated energy source.”

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  • Against Backdrop of Battery Arms Race, Chemists Receive Nobel Prize for Work on Lithium-Ion Technology

    Critical minerals are a hot button issue.  Materials that long seemed obscure like Rare Earths, Lithium, Cobalt, Graphite, and Nickel have entered the mainstream and are making headlines every day.  

    Against the backdrop of the ongoing materials science revolution and the intensifying battery arms race, it is only fitting that this month, three pioneers of Lithium-ion battery technology were awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry.   Through their innovations, John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino, in the words of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences that awards the prestigious prize every year, “created a rechargeable world.” 

    A post for Quantamagazine’s Abstractions blog outlines some of the details of the research accomplishments by Goodenough, Whittingham and Yoshino, who, by building on each other’s work, developed a Lithium-ion battery that — unlike the ones used before — were safe, lightweight, and highly efficient. According to Quantamagazine: “That design is ubiquitous today, powering portable electronics and helping to shift the world’s energy infrastructure in a more sustainable direction, as it allows electricity produced from renewable sources, such as the sun and the wind, to be efficiently stored and put to work.”

    Ultimately, in a nutshell, Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized our lives since they first entered the market in 1991.  They have laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society, and are of the greatest benefit to humankind.

    Battery technology indeed has come a long way since the three Nobel Prize winners began their work in the field in the 1970s. After Sony introduced the first commercialized the Lithium-ion battery in 1991, camcorders were the biggest driver of demand for several years. Laptops replaced camcorders as biggest source of demand by 2000, and by 2010, the smart phone was the biggest driver of demand for Lithium-ion battery technology.

    Recently, however, fueled in particular by the advent of the electric vehicle (EV), developments in the field of battery technology have been kicked into high gear.

    The fact that Goodenough, Whittingham and Yoshino have finally been recognized for their contributions to the advancement of Lithium-ion battery technology is a testament to these developments and to the growing realization that, in the words of Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and a member of the ARPN panel of experts: “we have reached a new gear in this energy storage revolution which is now having a profound impact on supply chains and the raw materials that fuel it.” 

    Commenting on this year’s Nobel Prize award, Prof. Dame Carol Robinson, president of the British Royal Society of Chemistry, stated that battery tech research will remain an exciting field: 

    “It’s not the end of the journey, as lithium is a finite resource and many scientists around the world are building on the foundations laid by these three brilliant chemists.” 

    As this year’s Lithium-ion laureates remind us, in the meantime, it will be up to U.S. policy makers to devise prudent policies aimed at streamlining U.S. resource policy against a growing sense that the United States is becoming a “bystander” in the current battery arms race.

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  • Are we Ready for the Tech Metals Age? Thoughts on Critical Minerals, Public Policy and the Private Sector

    Earlier this week, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty shared his views on the coming tech metal age and its policy implications at In the Zone 2019 – Critical Materials: Securing Indo-Pacific Technology Futures – a conference hosted in cooperation with the University of Western Australia to look at critical mineral resource issues through the prism of the [...]
  • McGroarty for the Economic Standard: In the Arctic Resource Wars, Greenland is a Hot Property

    In a new piece for The Economic Standard, ARPN’s Dan McGroarty puts the current controversy over President Trump’s quip about wanting to buy Greenland from Denmark in context. Invoking President Truman’s offer to purchase Greenland in 1946 as well as Secretary of State William Henry Seward’s 1867 purchase of Alaska — for which he received [...]
  • McGroarty: Tech Wars Heat Up – Administration Invokes Defense Production Act to Spur Domestic REE Development

    ARPN’s Dan McGroarty discusses President Trump’s decision to invoke the Defense Production Act to spur domestic REE development for The Economic Standard: The Tech Wars Heat Up: U.S. Makes National Security Declarations to Spur Rare Earths Development Forget the trade war – the tech war is heating up.  After weeks of Chinese threats that it [...]
  • Tesla May Get Into Mining Business, Says Elon Musk, A Visionary Rooted in the Reality of Resources

    If you looked up the definition of “visionary entrepreneur” in the dictionary, chances are you’d stumble over Elon Musk’s name.  Perhaps like no other CEO today, Tesla’s innovator-in-chief has had his finger on the pulse of time, and has arguably “revolutionized many industries.” And while he continues his “mission is to help save Earth for humanity through sustainable [...]
  • The Blessings of a New World

    The following is a re-post from 2012: Today is American Thanksgiving – a celebration of the blessings afforded by our forefathers as they overcame adversity in a new land, laboring to obtain from the resources around them the necessities of life:  food, shelter, and warmth against winter’s cold. Since that first winter, the bounty of Thanksgiving [...]
  • Infographic Visualizes the Electrification of Vehicle Fleet

    Followers of ARPN may have noticed that much of our recent blog coverage has focused on EV battery tech.  Here are a few examples: Vanadium’s Time to Shine? Race to Control Battery Tech Underscores Need for Comprehensive Resource Policy Lithium – Challenges and Opportunities Underscore Need for Domestic Resource Policy Overhaul Of course, there are [...]
  • Event Alert: Resources for Future Generations (#RFG2018) Conference

    We have barely taken down the Christmas decorations, but stores have their Valentine’s Day merchandise out, and we’re already halfway through January.  It may feel that way, but it’s really not to early to highlight an event coming up in June – Summer will be here before we know it. So mark your calendars, ladies [...]
  • New Year’s Resolutions for Mineral Resource Policy Reform

    If you’re one of nearly half of all Americans, you will have already made a few New Year’s resolutions for 2018.   Among the most popular are personal betterment goals like “losing weight,” and “exercising more.”  While we’re all for making personal resolutions, at ARPN, we’re more concerned with the goals our policy makers are [...]
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