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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • The “Electronification of Everything” Raises Specter of “War Over the Periodic Table”

    Via our friend and ARPN expert Simon Moores’ Twitter feed, we came across a three-part must-read series for Bloomberg View, in which author and policy expert David S. Abraham discusses the role of rare earths in today’s increasingly high-tech world.   Perhaps most interestingly, Abraham clarifies a common misconception in part two of the series:

    “Although the multiple functions of our new gadgets appear to come with the opportunity to use fewer raw materials — after all, the iPhone is a computer, book, and music player — the reality is we use far more total resources.

    Indeed, some new products use less rare metals than their previous iterations. For example, LED displays use far fewer rare-earth elements per lamp than their fluorescent cousins. But other times, an apparent reduction in materials use is just a displacement.”

    As he explains, laptops today may use fewer rare earths because flash drives are getting smaller, but to offset reduced memory capacities, usage of REE-magnets for hard drives in cloud-data storage centers is skyrocketing.

    Abraham cites the electric toothbrush, the production of which requires roughly 35 metals, as an example of the “’electronification’ of what were once simple products is now embedded with rare metals.”  Supplying these 35 metals, he says, requires an extensive supply chain spanning six continents.  The dangers associated with the inherent risk of supply disruptions stretch far beyond dental hygiene:

    “Because whole industries are built on just a few rare metals, disruptions to their supply can have profound global implications and give resource-rich countries tremendous leverage. (…) And as these metals are critical to green technology as well as underpin complex weapons systems and ultimately a country’s national defense, more is on the line than spinning toothbrushes.

    Abraham’s warning in part three of the series should sound familiar to our ARPN readers, as it reflects concerns we have consistently raised over the past few years:

    “Increasingly today, national economic security and the fate of many businesses are beholden to a handful of unheralded metals, produced often in one country, in many cases China. As our products become more advanced and supply lines intertwined, manufacturers become tied to the properties of specific rare metals, leaving them hostage to the resources. Without more robust supply lines, the War over the Periodic Table may be just beginning.”

     Read the entire three-part series here.

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  • Does Elon Musk Know Where His Giga-Metals Will Come From?

    ARPN followers are well-versed on the dangers of foreign resource dependency – a concern highlighted by Tesla Motors’ announcement earlier this year that the EV manufacturer will build a massive Giga-Factory in the American Southwest, with the goal of doubling global EV battery output by 2020. As ARPN’ers know, the next question is: Where will all the metals and minerals come from?

    That question and more is answered in a new report co-authored by ARPN Expert Simon Moores LINK and his colleagues at Industrial Minerals Data.

    As Simon writes:

    “Does Elon Musk really know where Tesla Motors’ battery grade graphite comes from?

    The chances are no, and neither do the sellers as the spotlight intensifies on the sourcing of critical minerals and metals that will fuel the new age battery economy

    Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk was forced to defend the company’s sourcing of graphite used in its electric vehicle (EV) batteries following a Bloomberg article in February linking the company to controversial graphite mining in China.

    The link between Tesla – the US’ most high profile electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer – and environmentally damaging practices as far upstream as the mine seems harsh but is becoming unavoidable for large public companies.

    In reaction to the story, Musk took to Twitter to explain that the company’s graphite was sourced in Japan and was mined on a “clean way”. But that didn’t really tell the whole story.

    In fact, Japan does not operate any graphite mines. It sources all of its product from China.”

    Read the full article @ data.indmin.com/Tesla

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  • Tesla Motors’ Gigafactory to Drive Critical Mineral Demand

    The graphite, lithium and cobalt industries are set for major demand surges as Tesla Motors prepares to break ground on its super-battery plant, the Gigafactory, next month. The high-end EV manufacturer is looking to double the world’s battery output as it seeks to bring the production cost of battery packs down in a bid to [...]
  • What are China’s intentions for its graphite production?

    The following is a guest post by American Resources expert Simon Moores. Wide-reaching controls on China’s natural resources continue to be at the forefront of its shift to a high value economy. Already industries like rare earths and phosphate fertilizer are tightly controlled by government-forced regulation. The question remains whether graphite – the 9th most [...]
  • Lithium Supply & Markets Conference held this week

    Industrial Minerals, the London-based intellectual home of one of our experts, Simon Moores, is hosting a conference on Lithium Supply & Markets in Las Vegas this week. Over the past few years, Lithium has seen increased attention due to its relevance in battery technology. Lithium Carbonate is a key component in the manufacture of Lithium-Ion [...]
  • As graphite demand increases, geopolitical dimension becomes more apparent

    ProEdgeWire’s Graphite and Graphene Weekly Review sees surging demand for graphite and its derivative graphene, not least because of their important role in battery technology, where graphite continues to be a traditional component, while graphene is considered a major factor in future generation batteries. Recent reports of aircraft batteries catching fire won’t change that – [...]
  • EV uncertainty dominates discussion at Graphite Conference – Part 2

    This is the second of a two-part post by American Resources Expert Simon Moores and his Industrial Minerals colleague, Andy Miller. Read Part One here.   2013 rebound after poor year 2012 has been a poor year for graphite demand. Trading activity has been sapped out of the industry since September with little sign of [...]
  • EV uncertainty dominates discussion at Graphite Conference – Part 1

    This is the first of a two-part post by American Resources Expert Simon Moores and his Industrial Minerals colleague, Andy Miller. Check back tomorrow for Part Two. The future for electric vehicle (EV) batteries dominated discussion at Industrial Minerals 2nd Graphite Conference in London last week, despite being only the fourth largest market for the [...]
  • American Resources experts to speak at international graphite conference

    American Resources Principal Daniel McGroarty will speak alongside fellow American Resources expert and Manager for Industrial Minerals Data, Simon Moores, at Industrial Minerals’ 2nd Graphite Conference 2012 in early December. In light of its traditional uses, its importance for the new Li-ion technology, and the ostensibly endless potential applications for the “new super material graphene,” [...]
  • “The New Black”? New study examines graphite’s potential

    Graphite’s uses have long been diverse, but, according to the experts at Industrial Minerals Data, the “emergence of the Li-ion battery era” – with Li-ion technology being key to our everyday portable electronic gadgets – has the “potential to turn the industry on its head.” Coupled with the ostensibly endless potential applications for the “new [...]

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