American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Shaking off China’s REE stranglehold holds potential for U.S. manufacturing resurgence

    In an Industry Week piece from earlier this month, Paul Martyn, vice president of supply at BravoSolution, shares his thoughts on the dangers of China’s Rare Earths supply stranglehold from a U.S. manufacturing perspective, and ways to address this challenge.

    Here are the key points from the piece:

    • China’s near-total Rare Earths monopoly has given it the power to manipulate the REE market through production caps and export controls.

    • According to Martyn, the “situation marks a time for manufacturers to break free from China and do what they do best: innovate,” – to “minimize China’s role by leveraging our primary assets and investing in local sourcing.”

    • Successfully doubling down on exploring and developing non-Chinese sources of Rare Earths, at least a dozen of which are in the U.S. result in a “resurgence in the industrial backbone of the U.S.

    • REE mining in the U.S. would connect three critical assets Martyn says we uniquely possess:

    1. An innovative manufacturing industry with modern capabilities and technologies.
    2. A supply of rare earth metals to exploit.
    3. A large of the supply of natural gas, which could potentially make the fueling of both of these operations more cost effective.

    • China’s price manipulations have led tech companies like Apple to move deeper into the supply chain, venturing into the local vertical markets. In doing so, U.S. electronics manufacturers are positioning themselves well against old “industry giants.” According to Martyn, this development points to definitive potential of a domestic manufacturing resurgence.

    Martyn’s bottom line:

    “In the next five to 10 years, manufacturers should be venturing out and looking for additional sources of supply. By looking at additional sources through folks in the equity world and mining industry, you can begin to get a sense of when additional supply may come out.”

  • Demand for critical mineral lithium likely to increase thanks to new technology

    Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a technology for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that allows them to hold a charge ten times longer than current batteries, and charge ten times faster, according to R&D Magazine.  Going forward, the engineers are looking to develop a new safety mechanism for lithium-ion batteries prompting them to automatically and reversibly shut off at high temperatures.

    With these batteries having become indispensable components of portable electronics and electric vehicles, both of which represent growth markets, demand for lithium will likely continue to soar, making current efforts to boost domestic production through new technologies all the more timely.

    Successes in research like this one underscore that technological progress and resource development go hand in hand. As applications for many high-tech, as well as mainstay metals continue to grow, so does dependency on these elements.  A nation that fails to overhaul its critical mineral strategy accordingly, and fails to explore and develop the resources it has, runs the risk of being marginalized in the global race for resources.

  • What the Auto Industry, Rare Earth Elements have in Common

    In a June 27 piece from Business Insider, Jim Powell, a technology and strategic metals analyst with Laurentian Bank Securities, attempts to clear up the confusion over the future supply and demand of critical metals. His interview with The Critical Metals Report highlights the struggle between China and the rest of the world over Rare [...]
  • Is Tellurium the “new gold?”

    A new piece in the New Scientist underlines the importance of strategic metals to our new economy — from tech toys like the iPad and smart phones to green-tech applications ranging from solar panels to wind turbines. The Tellurium in the title is an element critical to new solar panel applications. As New Scientist puts [...]
  • U.S. House subcommittee focuses on America’s resource dependency

    On Tuesday, May 24, 2011, I testified on behalf of American Resources Policy Network before the House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, which held a hearing on the issue of “domestic minerals supplies and demands in a time of foreign supply disruption.” (Read my testimony here and watch my remarks [...]
  • ARPN to testify on metals, minerals policy challenges before U.S. House Subcommittee

    Tuesday, May 24th at 9:00 a.m. EST, I will be testifying on behalf of ARPN before the House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, which is holding a hearing on the issue of “domestic minerals supplies and demands in a time of foreign supply disruption.” Download and read the release announcing [...]
  • Global events send price of gold soaring

    With the news cycle dominated by the ongoing crisis in Japan, unrest, and war in the Middle East, and financial troubles of European Union member countries; the price of gold is soaring. As CBS News reports, investors big and small are lured by the perceived safety of the commodity, sending its price to more than [...]