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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • U.S. Senator and AK Governor for The Hill: With China Having Taken Control of Critical Mineral Supply Chains, We Need to Act Now

    Beijing’s threat to withhold potentially life-saving medical supplies and medications in the middle of a global pandemic, during which China has “taken control of [respective] supply chains around the world as part of its quest for global domination,” were a wake up call, write U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R-AK) in an op-ed for The Hill. Medical supplies and medications, however, they say, “aren’t the only products the Chinese control that the United States depends on.” With China having effectively consolidated the global supply chain for critical minerals, including rare earth elements, we are now faced with the gargantuan task of “jumpstarting an industry that barely exists.”

    Thankfully, as Sen. Cruz and Gov. Dunleavy point out, the Trump administration began taking steps towards prioritizing critical mineral resource policy and re-shoring these supply chains in 2017, and has stepped up its efforts once more with the signing of a new presidential executive order declaring a critical minerals national emergency at the end of September of this year.

    The task, as the authors point out, is “exponentially more difficult” than keeping existing supply chains in the United States, because China recognized the importance of critical minerals for high-tech economies well before other global players, and has been jockeying for the global pole position in the space ever since. Write Cruz and Dunleavy:

    “Bringing the supply chain to the United States requires granular knowledge of the industry, because investors are sitting on the sidelines of the critical minerals industry for different reasons than they’re sitting on the sidelines of the pharmaceutical industry. To fix this, we have to convince investors to get into a market where they are justifiably afraid China will undermine them at every point of the supply chain.”

    They point to Sen. Ted Cruz’s ORE Act and Gov. Dunleavy’s executive action to provide financing for REE mining projects in Alaska as examples of market-based incentives which, coupled with regulatory reform can jump-start the much-needed buildout of our nation’s crucial mineral supply chains.

    The ORE ACT provides tax incentives for buying American mined rare earths and battery minerals and metals; strengthens requirements for the Pentagon to source these critical mined materials from the U.S.; and establishes grants for pilot programs to develop these materials in the U.S.”

    Sen. Cruz and Gov. Dunleavy insist that “the entire country has a role to play” in the effort to build out a comprehensive domestic critical minerals supply chain – “from the reclamation of mines and reprocessing of mine waste rock in Appalachia, to mines in Texas, Alaska, California and Wyoming. In Alaska alone, 30 of the 35 critical minerals identified by President Trump are available for extraction, as well as tremendous amounts of commercial-grade graphite, lead, zinc and copper.”

    Efforts like the ORE Act are gaining traction in Congress, and Alaska – rich in metals and minerals (with 30 of the 35 deemed critical by the Department of the Interior in 2018 available for extraction) — is assuming a leadership role at the state level.

    We don’t have a moment to waste. As Sen. Cruz and Gov. Dunleavy argue:

    “At any time, China could cut off our access to rare earth elements and critical minerals. We need to act now to establish a critical mineral supply chain in the United States, and to make sure we can manufacture defense technologies and support our military. Our national security depends on it.”

    Click here to read the full op-ed.

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  • Critical Minerals and the Defense Industrial Base: Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Testifies Before Senate Armed Services Subcommittee

    Hours after President Donald Trump issued a new executive order declaring a national emergency on critical minerals, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support received testimony from Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen M. Lord on the integrity of America’s critical minerals supply chains.

    Kicking off the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) argued that COVID-19 and the rise of China have given new urgency to “the vulnerabilities and gaps in our supply chains, particularly as it relates to national security.”

    Said Sullivan:

    “Highly technical weapons systems, as well as consumer electronics (…) increasingly have a role in warfighting and are increasingly reliant on Chinese supply chains. One area of supply chain integrity that is particularly important to me, and I think the rest of the country, is our supply of strategic critical minerals and metals that go into many of our modern-day electronics and our modern-day weapons. The key issue on this is that we know we’re reliant on China. In many cases, we, the United States of America, actually have these critical minerals—for example, in the great state of Alaska—and we actually mine them and process them [using] much higher environmental standards than the Chinese (…) and I think people are starting to recognize that.”

    In her testimony, Under Secretary Lord addressed the Department of Defense’s efforts to strengthen and secure the Defense Industrial Base (DIB), “both before and since the President issued ‘Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak’ on: March 13, 2020.”

    Lord pointed to reduced U.S. capability in microelectronics as a particularly troublesome area for the DIB, where reliance on non-U.S. suppliers for leaves DoD vulnerable.

    Outlining current and future efforts, she said:

    “What we can do today is begin the mining and processing (…) [and] we can think about stockpiling some more of these. We need the authorities to move forward with these, in some cases, and we certainly need appropriations (…) We actually have worked through OMB (Office of Management and Budget) and have submitted to Congress and hoped to see another appropriation to DOD under the CARES Act, and we actually had submitted $5 billion for another DPA (Defense Production Act) Title III appropriation, because our industrial business council has a very long list of critical frugalities that we are trying to address. Rare earth is our key one.”

    When asked by Sen. Sullivan how the Strategic Petroleum Reserve differed from the National Defense Stockpile and whether said stockpile should be expanded to take on a role similar to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, Lord replied: “There is already a lot of work going on to look at expanding the National Defense Stockpile to include more rare earths and to look at that as a national resource.” She committed to providing the subcommittee with a plan, within 30 days, for establishing a domestic stockpile of critical minerals.

    In a week where the lack of critical mineral supply was declared a “national emergency,” the Senate SASC hearing underscores that resource dependency, in the 21st Century Tech Metals Era, is a clear and present danger.

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  • Scandium Has Yet to Go “Ballistic” — Will Recent Developments Change the Material’s Odds to Shine?

    “This obscure metal is going to go ballistic in a few years,” John Kaiser of Kaiser Research told the Investing News Network a few years ago. The metal he was referring to is Scandium — a material that is “as strong as titanium, as light as aluminum, and as hard as ceramic.” It’s a material [...]
  • Europe Comes to Terms with Mineral Supply Challenges, Unveils Action Plan

    As the U.S. explores its options when it comes to diversifying our critical minerals supply chains away from China in the wake of COVID-19, Europe is coming to grips with its own mineral supply challenges. According to European metals association Eurometaux, the region “has reached a critical fork in the road,” as it grapples with [...]
  • Europe Forges Ahead With Battery Gigafactory Buildout As U.S. Still Struggles to Get Off Starting Block

    The current coronavirus pandemic may have thrown a wrench into the gears of many industries, but — against the backdrop of skyrocketing materials supply needs in the context of the green energy transition — Europe continues to forge ahead with the buildout of its large-scale battery gigafactory capacity.  According to London-based Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, whose [...]
  • U.S. Import Reliance, Supply Chains, and National Security – A Visual

    The current coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on many aspects of social life and public policy. With nations struggling to secure critical medicines and other supplies, many of which are sourced from China, the global crisis is increasingly exposing the challenges associated with supply chain security — for medical devices, for personal protective [...]
  • Canada and U.S. to Draft “Joint Action Plan” on Rare Earths / Critical Minerals

    After years of missed opportunities to prioritize mineral resource policy, the U.S. government is stepping up its efforts to secure critical mineral resource supply chains.   The latest case in point is the drafting of a “joint action plan” with our neighbors to the North to reduce reliance on Chinese supplies of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) — which, [...]
  • Critical Mineral Uranium: No Import Quotas, But “Significant Concerns” Prompt Fuller Analysis of Nuclear Fuel Supply Chain

    Primarily known for its energy applications, (and thus falling under the purview of the Department of Energy) uranium may have not been much of a focal point for ARPN in the past.   However, the policy issues surrounding uranium – many of which have a familiar ring to followers of ARPN – increasingly warrant a [...]
  • Moving Beyond the Report Stage? – Specter of REE Supply Disruptions Prompts Congressional Action on Critical Minerals

    The U.S. and China have resumed trade talks after last month’s meeting between U.S. President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka broke a deadlock — but key issues remain far from settled. Against the backdrop of both sides preparing for a protracted battle, Jeff Green, president [...]
  • U.S. to Cooperate with Canada and Australia To Encourage Responsible Resource Development for New Energy Technology

    Amidst growing concerns over the availability of metals and minerals underpinning the EV revolution, the United States, Canada and Australia have joined forces to encourage the responsible development of said materials. As the Financial Times reported earlier last week, the US state department and its Canadian and Australian counterparts “will work to help countries discover and [...]

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