American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • The race for Arctic riches

    A handful of countries situated near the top of the world are racing to firm up their territorial claims to untold amounts of oil, natural gas, gold, zinc, copper and other metals. A new piece from the U.K. Guardian highlights this renewed scramble for resource rights beneath the Arctic icecap.

    I treated this story in 2007 as the dawning of a new “Cold War.” Read the full story here. [Subscription required.] Neither the geology nor the geo-politics has changed much in the past four years – unless we factor in the growing urgency as global resource demand collides with the glacial development pace of most new mining projects.

    For the U.S., our Arctic claims come via Alaska – a.k.a. Seward’s Folly, and perhaps the best $7.2 million ever spent by the U.S. Government. Across a range of metals and minerals, expect Alaska – and by extension, our Arctic claims – to play a key role in resource supply in the 21st century. Forget the folly: let’s make that William Seward, futurist.

  • Peruvian Elections Raise Issue of Resource Dependency for U.S.

    The election victory of leftist Peruvian presidential candidate Ollanta Humala in this week’s runoff election has instilled fears of higher taxes and new restrictive policies in the mining sector.  Peru is a leading producer of precious metals, and the U.S. relies heavily on Peruvian imports of zinc, tin, gold, copper, and silver. (To see exactly to what degree, take a look at the USGS Commodity Summaries 2011 report).

    Whether or not worries of greater state involvement in Peru’s mining sector in light of Humala’s ties to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez will materialize remains to be seen, as Humala ran on a more moderate economic platform in the runoff-election than before the first round of voting in April.

    The larger issue for the U.S. is that our unnecessarily high degree of dependence on foreign imports of metals and minerals leaves us vulnerable to geopolitical changes. It doesn’t take war or major political unrest, – a couple thousand of ballots could be all it takes to potentially disrupt our supply of critical resources. Unless we explore and develop the resources beneath our own soil, all we can do in such situations is sit and wait.