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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • 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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  • Experts to U.S. Senators: It’s “Not Too Late for the U.S.” to Secure Mineral Supply Chains Post-COVID, “But Action is Needed Now”

    In a timely hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, witnesses discussed the urgency of securing U.S. mineral supply chains in a post-COVID context. 

    Committee Chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who has long been an advocate of comprehensive mineral resource policy reform set the stage arguing that “[t]he pandemic has brought home that we don’t produce many goods important to our country.” While pointing out that the mining industry may not have faced the same level of disruption as some other sectors, she said that it is “hard not to conclude that we have been lucky here, and luck usually isn’t a very good strategy.”  Invoking recent studies, such as the recent World Bank report released as part of the global lender’s “Climate Smart Mining” Initiative pointing to the mineral intensity of a low-carbon future she underscored that now is the time to address our nation’s over-reliance on foreign (and in particular, Chinese) supplies of critical minerals.

    Simon Moores, Managing Director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and member of the American Resources Policy Network (ARPN) panel of experts, who in prior testimony had warned that the U.S. had become a “bystander in the global battery arms race,” argued that while a new global lithium ion economy was being created, “any US ambitions to be a leader in this lithium ion economy continue to only creep forward and be outstripped by China and Europe.  In more stark terms: China is building the equivalent of one battery megafactory a week, the USA one every four months.”

    While warning that “[i]n the USA, progress is far too slow on building out a domestic lithium ion economy,” Moores did point to opportunities to alleviate what has become a dire outlook, but said that it would effectively require rebuilding a heavy industry from scratch — and “at a speed, at scale, and quality that will make most of corporate America uncomfortable.”

    He closed by invoking the U.S.’s successful creation of a widespread semiconductor industry in the 1980s:

    “The lead that the USA built in semiconductors and computing power due to companies like Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel Corporation has sustained the USA’s dominance in global computing for over 5 decades.

    Likewise, those who invest in battery capacity and supply chains today are likely to dominate this industry for generations to come.

    It is not too late for the US but action is needed now.”

    Other witnesses, which included Nedal Nassar of the U.S. Geological Survey, Joe Bryan of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, Mark Caffarey of Umicore USA, Inc., and Dr. Thomas J. Duesterberg of the Hudson Institute, echoed the sentiment. 

    Full written remarks of all witnesses can be viewed here, and archived video of the hearing, which includes a q&a session following the official statements, will be made available here.

     

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  • Trade Tensions Underscore Need for Mineral Resource Policy Reform

    While 2018 brought the inter-relationship between trade and resource policy to the forefront, this trend is continuing in 2019.   Last week, the White House announced sanctions on Iranian metals, which represent the Tehran regime’s biggest source of export revenue aside from petroleum.  The sanctions on Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum and copper sectors represent the [...]
  • U.S. To Pursue National Electric Vehicle Supply Chain

    ARPN expert panel member and managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Simon Moores must have struck a nerve when he called the U.S. a “bystander” in the current battery arms race during a recent Congressional hearing. His message  —  “Those who control these critical raw materials and those who possess the manufacturing and processing know how, will [...]
  • Today: Three Members of ARPN Expert Panel to Discuss Battery Tech Materials and Supply Chains at Miller Thomson’s PDAC 2019

    Bearing testimony of the immense importance of the issue of battery tech materials and their supply chains, three members of the ARPN panel of issue experts will be presenting their viewpoints at a seminar hosted by Miller Thomson as part of their PDAC 2019 Series hosted in Toronto, Canada today. Simon Moores, Managing Director of [...]
  • “Something Does not Come from Nothing” – Formulation of Mineral Resource Strategy Should be a Precursor to Green Energy Debate

    “Something does not come from nothing. That fact can be easily forgotten when it comes to seemingly abstract concepts like ‘energy,’” writes Angela Chen in a new piece for technology news and media network The Verge. Chen zeroes in on four key metals and minerals that have become indispensable components of green energy technology – Neodymium, [...]
  • McGroarty Warns of Real World Problem for 21st Century American Warrior

    In a new commentary for Investor’s Business Daily, ARPN principal Daniel McGroarty warns of “America’s unilateral disarmament in the resource wars.”  Invoking the world of Marvel comics, in which Vibranium is the imaginary metal used for Captain America’s shield, IronMan’s exoskeleton, and Black Panther’s energy-absorbing suit, McGroarty argues that the 21st Century American warrior (perhaps [...]
  • U.S. Currently Bystander in Global Battery Arms Race, ARPN Expert Tells U.S. Senate Committee

    A key global player, the United States is not used to being a bystander. Yet this is exactly what is currently happening, says Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s Managing Director Simon Moores, addressing the full U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources this morning. Delivering his testimony on the outlook for energy and minerals market in [...]
  • U.S. Senate to Hold Hearing on Energy and Mineral Markets, Member of ARPN Expert Panel to Testify

    We’ve called it “the new black.” The Guardian even went as far as ringing in the “Ion Age.”  Bearing testimony to the growing importance of battery technology, the U.S. Senate will hold a hearing examining the outlook for energy and minerals markets in the 116th Congress on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 with an emphasis on battery [...]
  • 2018 – A Year of Incremental Progress?

    In case you hadn’t noticed amidst holiday preparations, travel arrangements and the usual chaos of everyday life – 2019 is just around the corner, and with that, the time to reflect on the past twelve months has arrived. So here is ARPN’s recap of 2018: Where we began. Unlike previous years, we started 2018 with [...]

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