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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Against Backdrop of Tech Wars, Russia Seeks to Boost Footprint in Africa

    As the tech wars deepen, the United States is — finally — taking important first steps to secure critical mineral resource supply chains both domestically and through cooperative agreements with allied nations like Australia and Canada. 

    But while the U.S. gears into action, the global scramble for resources is in full swing.  Case in point:  reports that Russia may be taking advantage of the United States’ shifted focus away from foreign entanglements and may be “following China’s lead and making a splashy bid for influence in Africa.”

    For the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed dozens of African national leaders for a summit in Sochi earlier this month in what was supposed to “underline the reversal of Russia’s retreat from the continent and demonstrate the country is no longer a defunct World power,” according to Voice of America (VOA)

    Speaking to reporters, a Putin spokesman said: 

    “This is a very important continent. (…) Russia has things to offer in terms of mutually beneficial cooperation to African countries.”

    According to the Associated Press, Russia “is taking advantage of the Trump administration’s seemingly waning interest in the continent of 1.2 billion people that includes some of the world’s fasted growing economies and a strategic perch on the Red Sea.”

    Followers of ARPN are no stranger to recent Russian forays into mineral-rich areas of the world. One need to look no further than the Arctic, where, against the backdrop of the region’s increasing strategic relevance and China’s ever-growing influence, Russia has increased its military commitment and upgraded its old Soviet Arctic military bases. 

    In Africa, the Kremlin is looking to revive its relationships from the Soviet era, which were extensive at the time, but cut off abruptly with the collapse of the Soviet Union.   As VOA reports, while trade with African countries has already increased by 350 percent in the past decade, according to Russia’s foreign ministry, the country hopes that the conference will lead to more oil, and mineral resource deals with African states going forward.

    To be sure, Russia’s engagement on the African continent pales in comparison to China’s, which has been aggressively tapping the continent’s vast mineral potential by investing hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure projects as part of its One Belt One Road Strategy.

    Against this background, analysts argue that Russia’s role in Africa should not be overestimated, as its “involvement in Africa is limited and guided by a combination of unrealistic ambitions and opportunism,” and “U.S. efforts should continue to prioritize addressing those long-standing challenges rather than being reoriented around the far narrower issue of countering Russian actions.”

    Neither, however — with the tech wars over which country will dominate the 21 Century Tech Age in full swing — should Russia’s African resource outreach be neglected or ignored. 

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  • 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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  • U.S. Senator: “Our Energy Future Is Bright, But Only If We Recognize The World We Are In”

    As the tech wars over Rare Earths and other critical metals and minerals deepen, competition is heating up in another field of resource policy.  In a new piece for the Washington Times, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) discusses the new realities of a globalized energy market and the consequences associated with America’s declining nuclear energy [...]
  • Greenland at the Heart of Resource Race in 21st Century Tech War

    While a deal is not likely to happen, and some question whether the comment was more quip than opening offer, President Trump’s recent interest in buying Greenland from Denmark has done one thing: bring Greenland and the Arctic into focus.   The President’s suggestion has been ridiculed by many, but from a strategic perspective — [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • While Some Reforms Fizzled, Enacted NDAA Contains Potentially Precedent-Setting REE Sourcing Provision

    As we have noted, the recently-signed John S. McCain (may he rest in peace) National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (H.R. 5515), stands as a missed opportunity to enact several meaningful mineral resource policy reforms. Nonetheless, one provision of the signed legislation marks an important development for the realm of resource policy – [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • The Arctic – A Looming Battlefield for Resource Supremacy?

    While relations between Russia and the United States continue to make headlines on a daily basis, one particular aspect of this relationship – in spite of the fact that it may be one of the most contentious ones – has been largely flying under the radar. As Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin recently wrote: [...]
  • Through the Gateway: The Geopolitics of Co-Product Supply – a Look at Scandium

    Throughout ARPN’s work, we have consistently highlighted the geopolitical dimension of mineral resource policy.  Where we source (or fail to source) our metals and minerals is an often forgotten – or ignored – factor, with implications for our domestic manufacturers, and, at times, even for our national security. Case in point – and in keeping [...]
  • Ukraine, Food Security, and Russia’s Imperial Reset

    American Resources readers will want to see what ARPN expert Chris Berry has to say about the potash sector in light of recent events in Ukraine. Now that Ukraine, formerly known as the “breadbasket of the Soviet Union,” has lost Crimea to the Russian Federation as Russian forces mass along its border, it’s time to [...]

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