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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Ned Mamula Joins American Resources Panel of Issue Experts

    We are thrilled to announce that Dr. Ned Mamula, a senior geoscientist with over 30 years of experience in energy and mineral research and resource policy issues, has joined the ARPN Panel of Issue Experts.

    Currently a scholar with the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, Mr. Mamula has spearheaded resource development investigations during his previous employment with leading scientific and intelligence agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Energy, and Central Intelligence Agency.

    Over the course of his career, Dr. Mamula has briefed key members of Congress, the executive branch, and various corporate officers. His writings have appeared in numerous scientific journals, and also with the Cato Institute, R Street Institute, Forbes, American Spectator, Real Clear Policy, and U.S. News and World Report. His presentation on America’s need for critical minerals was broadcast live on C-SPAN.

    Dr. Mamula served on the Trump Transition Team as an advisor and subject matter expert for the Department of the Interior on geoscience issues including energy, minerals, and federal lands. He received his M.S. in economic geology from Penn State University, Ph.D. in petroleum geology and geophysics from Texas A&M University, and Masters in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies.

    Recently, at the Cato Institute, and other Washington think tanks, he has written and spoken extensively on resource policy, mining, critical and strategic minerals demand, international supply chain vulnerabilities, and the geopolitics of energy and mineral policy. We recently featured his latest piece for The Hill, in which he and his colleague William Murray called for a turnaround in our nation’s ill-advised resource policies which “have contributed to our current addiction to imported minerals.”

    He has been Cato’s principal presenter of geoscience Policy Forums and Capitol Hill Briefings on energy and mineral resource issues, exploration and production technology advances, and the role of federal regulations in resource development.

    If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Mamula’s current work, look no further than his four installments on “Strategic Minerals” published by the Capital Research Center.

    In this series of posts, Dr. Mamula aptly outlines how decades of “poor stewardship on the part of the federal government” and “severe restrictions imposed at the behest of the environmentalist movement” have effectively put the United States at the mercy of China and other nations to meet our non-fuel mineral resource needs. He analyzes the underlying reasons and provides options for a path forward.

    All four installments of Dr. Mamula’s “Strategic Minerals” series can be accessed here:

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  • Materials Science Profiles of Progress – Researchers Turn to Bioengineered Bacteria to Recover REEs

    Followers of ARPN are well aware that we have been calling out policy makers and other stakeholders for their inaction when it comes to working towards the development of a coherent, forward-looking and comprehensive mineral resource strategy – and we frequently point to missed opportunities to work towards this goal.

    While we stand by our criticism, there have also been some positive developments in recent years, largely brought about by the ongoing revolution in materials science, and over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting some of these ”Materials Science Profiles of Progress” on our blog. Call it our attempt at positive reinforcement.  

    The most recent development we’d like to feature in this context comes via the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), a Department of Energy research hub led by Ames National Laboratory and a team of research partners which strives ”to develop solutions across the materials lifecycle as well as reduce the impact of supply chain disruptions and price fluctuations associated with these valuable resources.”

    Tied into the overall CMI effort, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have discovered a new method to recover Rare Earth Elements (REEs) using bioengineered bacteria. 

    According to the Lab’s own announcement, 

    ”[m]any recent studies have looked at the use of biomass for adsorption of REEs. However, REE adsorption by bioengineered systems has been scarcely documented, and rarely tested with complex natural feedstocks. 

    But in the new research, the LLNL team recovered rare earth elements from low-grade feedstock (raw material supplied to a machine or processing plant) using engineered bacteria.”

    Said Yongqin Jiao, one of the team’s lead researchers:

    ”Non-traditional REE resources, such as mine tailings, geothermal brines and coal byproducts, are abundant and offer a potential means to diversify the REE supply chain. However, no current technology exists that is capable of economic extraction of rare earths from them, which creates a big challenge and an opportunity.

    (…) 

    Our results demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of coupling bioengineering with biosorption for REE extraction from low-grade feedstocks.”

    ARPN followers know about the importance of Rare Earth Elements, which, while graced with obscure-sounding names — our favorite is Dysprosium, derived from the Greek dysprositos, “hard to get” — are becoming increasingly indispensable components of 21st century gadgetry and high-tech industrial applications, as well as green energy and defense applications. With the United States’ import reliance for REEs having climbed back to 100% (after a recent brief but temporary reduction) and with more than 90 percent of all global supply coming from China, the supply issue has become ever-more pressing.

    While the bio-recovery effort is certainly no panacea, it represents a commendable step towards reducing our overall mineral resource dependencies – and bears testimony to the ways in which materials science is transforming the way in which we use and obtain metals and minerals. 

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  • Nickel – The “Metal That Brought You Cheap Flights” Now “Secret Driver of the Battery Revolution”

    Another week, another great infographic by Visual Capitalist – this time on the “Secret Driver of the Battery Revolution” – Nickel. Long an important base metal because of its alloying capabilities, Nickel’s status as a Gateway Metal, yielding access to tech minerals like Cobalt, Palladium, Rhodium and Scandium – all of which are increasingly becoming [...]
  • Boron – One Of The Most Versatile Materials You’ve Never Heard About?

    Visual Capitalist has put together another great infographic – this time one that shows that Boron is far more ubiquitous than one would think.  You may have come across them in your laundry room or your kids’ slime-making experiments in the form of Borax, but may not have heard much about them otherwise. However, with [...]
  • European Commission Expands Critical Raw Materials List (U.S. Government, Are You Listening?)

    Earlier last month, the European Commission released an updated list of critical raw materials in the context of the European Union’s “Raw Materials Initiative” – a project put forward in 2008 to tackle challenges associated with raw material access.  The 2017 list is an update and expansion of the Commission’s 2014 list, identifying 27 raw [...]
  • Moores’ Law: The Rise of Lithium Ion Battery Megafactories and What it Means for Critical Mineral Resource Supply

    Earlier this month, Simon Moores, Managing Director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and member of the ARPN panel of experts testified before the full U.S. Senate Energy Committee on opportunities and risks in the energy storage supply chain.   We’re titling his observations as Moores’ Law — which is his for the taking, given the placement [...]
  • The Surge of EV Technology and Implications for Mineral Resource Supply and Demand

    You may have caught Elon Musk’s exchange with Daimler on Twitter over investment in EV technology earlier this week. Vacuum giant Dyson has also tossed its hat into the ring announcing that it will spend $2.7 billion to develop an electric car. The headlines are piling up, and it’s no longer a secret that demand [...]
  • Graphene-fed Spiders and Our Web of Resource Dependencies 

    A material long hailed as being on the cutting edge of materials science, Graphene is making headlines again. And, fitting for fall and people gearing up for Halloween, it involves everyone’s favorite creepy crawlies – arachnids.  Researchers at the University of Trento in Italy have found that spiders fed with graphene and carbon nanotubes, which [...]
  • China Jockeys for Pole Position in EV Industry

    ARPN followers know it’s the elephant in the room. China. Already vast and resource-rich, the country has demonstrated an insatiable appetite for the world’s mineral resources and has pursued an aggressive strategy to gain access to the materials needed to meet the world’s largest population’s resource needs. Thus, it comes as no surprise that China [...]
  • Lithium – A Case In Point for Mining Policy Reform

    In a recent op-ed for the Reno Gazette Journal, professor emeritus of mining engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno, Jaak Daemen makes the case for comprehensive mining policy reform.   Citing the arrival of electric vehicles in which “battery technology is catching up with the hype,” he cautions that benefits benefits associated with the [...]

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