American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Panelists at Virtual Forum Agree on Need for Holistic “All of The Above” Approach to Critical Mineral Resource Policy

    During a virtual congressional policy forum on critical minerals hosted by House Committee on Natural Resources Republicans earlier this week, experts agreed that the United States must adopt a holistic “all of the above” approach to critical mineral resource policy.

    Panelists at the event, which can be re-watched in its entirety here, included:

    Daniel McGroarty, principal, Carmot Strategic Group, Inc and principal, American Resources Policy Network
    Laurel Sayer
    , president and CEO, Perpetua Resources
    Reed Blakemore
    , deputy director, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council
    Dr. Michael Moats
    , professor of metallurgical engineering and director of the O’Keefe Institute, Missouri University of Science and Technology
    Abigail Wulf
    , director, Center for Critical Minerals Strategy, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE)
    Tim Gould
    , head of division, Energy Supply Outlooks and Investment, International Energy Agency (IEA)
    Dr. Ian Lange
    , director, Mineral and Energy Economics Program, Colorado School of Mines

    ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty told members that said “all of the above” approach should be applied not only to resource development, but also to Congressional policy, which currently is not maximizing policy tools already on the books. He also suggested that to secure domestic critical mineral supply chains, stakeholders should not only look to bolster domestic production, but also processing, turning “smelters into critical minerals hubs” and “treating them as the assets they are.”

    There was a broad consensus among panelists that recycling, while important, would not obviate the need for domestic resource production in light of growing need for critical minerals. In fact, pointing to a brand new study released by the agency on the material inputs needed for a carbon neutral future, the IEA’s Tim Gould argued that recycling could only account for about 10% of the required mineral resources to underpin the transition to zero carbon.

    Pointing to the growing threat of China controlling critical mineral resources, SAFE’s Abigail Wulf argued that the 2020s will be a “critical decade that will challenge the United States’ ability to consistently and effectively project its political, military, and economic strength.”

    She continued:

    “During this time, the production of batteries, electric vehicles (EVs), semiconductors, and other advanced technologies will take on increased geopolitical importance in the face of a rising China. The nation that prevails in this struggle to control the manufacturing and distribution of these key industries will lead the global transition to a new energy future and the next industrial revolution. The United States cannot afford to lag behind China, risking our position of global economic leadership, leaving us vulnerable to supply disruptions and dependent on nations that do not share our values.”

    Speakers highlighted the importance — and opportunity — of co-product development, and agreed that removing uncertainty in the mining sector was warranted.

    Better education on what Dr. Michael Moats of the Missouri University of Science and Technology called a “societal lack of recognition of the importance of where things come from,” or the “dangerous disconnect,” between using manufactured goods and understanding what goes into making the product, would further be key ways to address the critical minerals crisis. After all, it’s not magic, or fairy dust that makes our 21st century hi-tech world go round.

    As McGroarty closed his remarks:

    “Critical minerals aren’t critical because of where they come from – they’re critical because of where they take us. American ingenuity, innovation and investment can do a lot – but the power of the private sector can do far more if public policy sends a strong signal that critical minerals matter – to the technology revolution transforming our world and to America’s place as the leader in that transformation.”

    Access Daniel McGroarty’s full remarks as submitted here.

    Click here to re-watch the entire forum.

  • Tesla’s 20 Million Vehicles by 2030 Goal in Context

    Innovation. Disruption. That’s what Elon Musk and Tesla have become synonymous for — and for good reason. A recent claim made that Tesla would be able to reach production of 20 million vehicles per year before 2030, however, may be more of a stretch goal than a realistic number, as staff at Mining.com has recently pointed out.

    Granted, when Elon Musk made the claim in September of last year, he added the caveat that the 20 million vehicles production number would require “consistently excellent execution.” It’s more than that, though — the limitations of material inputs, and, more specifically, the challenges associated with critical mineral resource supply, cannot be executed away.

    In an interesting thought experiment that puts these numbers into context, using data from Adamas Intelligence, Mining.com has extrapolated just how much in raw materials Tesla would require to produce those 20 million vehicles instead of the half million vehicles it produced last year.

    Here’s the chart:

    As Frik Els of Mining.com points out,

    “When Tesla makes 20 million cars in a year it will need more than 30% of global mined nickel production in 2019 (2020 saw a 20%-plus reduction in output) for its batteries. Put another way, Tesla will have to buy the entire output of the top 6 producers – Norilsk, Vale, Jinchuan, Sumitomo, Glencore, BHP, and then some.”

    Els continues, facetiously:

    “Since Tesla is replacing graphite anodes with silicon, it’s not necessary to dwell on the fact that if this elusive scientific breakthrough is not commercialized at the speed of a Tesla in Ridiculous Mode, the carmaker would need 94% of the world’s natural graphite production by the time it hits 20 million cars a year. At least you can make more graphite.”

    For cobalt, the requirement would be more than half of global production before 2030, and for lithium it would be a whopping 165%.

    And, as followers of ARPN well know, rare earths may not in fact be “rare,” but that doesn’t mean they magically appear out of thin air like fairy dust.

    While Mining.com’s number crunching and throwing shade may make Tesla’s numbers seem like pie in the sky constructs, they do underscore an important fact:

    “The future energy system will be far more mineral and metal-intensive than it is today,” as Dr. Morgan Bazilian, Director of the Payne Institute and Professor of Public Policy, Colorado School of Mines testified before Congress in the fall 0f 2019, and several studies have since confirmed.

    With the COVID-19 pandemic having underscored the challenges associated with the geopolitics of resource supply, and the green energy transition agenda having moved to the forefront under the new Biden Administration, securing and shoring up critical mineral resource supply chains is becoming increasingly paramount.

  • Tesla May Get Into Mining Business, Says Elon Musk, A Visionary Rooted in the Reality of Resources

    If you looked up the definition of “visionary entrepreneur” in the dictionary, chances are you’d stumble over Elon Musk’s name.  Perhaps like no other CEO today, Tesla’s innovator-in-chief has had his finger on the pulse of time, and has arguably “revolutionized many industries.” And while he continues his “mission is to help save Earth for humanity through sustainable [...]
  • “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, [...]
  • “Consumption” Missing Element in Discussion over Mineral Resource Development

    You need “stuff” to make “stuff.”  It’s a simple concept, but one that is all too often forgotten. As ARPN’s Dan McGroarty wrote in a 2015 Forbes op-ed coauthored with then-CEO of mining advisory firm Behre Dolbear Karr McCurdy: “[A]s a precursor to sound policy, the nation needs a change in mind-set: It’s time to [...]
  • “Materials Science Profiles of Progress” – REE Extraction From Coal

    In the fairy tale realm, Rumpelstilskin was able to turn straw into gold. Meanwhile, in the real world, as part of our feature series “Materials Science Profiles of Progress,” we’re taking a closer look at a recently-announced research partnership that may not be able to turn straw into gold, but promises to extract precious Rare [...]
  • Critical Minerals – Making Our World Colorful

    While we rarely pause a moment to think about where they come from, by now, most of us are probably aware that electronic gadgets contain numerous obscure materials that until recently we hadn’t heard of.   But did you know that even some of the most banal items we use in our lives on a daily [...]
  • Through The Gateway: A Look at Gateway Metals, Co-Products and the Foundations of American Technology

    The following is an overview of our “Through the Gateway” informational campaign, in which we outline the importance of Gateway Metals and their Co-Products. Here, we expand on the findings of our “Gateway Metals and the Foundations of American Technology” report, in which we focused on a group of five “Gateway Metals,” which are not only critical to manufacturing and [...]
  • Through the Gateway: “Fairy Dust” Supply Woes Loom

    As we continue our look Through the Gateway, comes a stern reminder by way of Canada that the geopolitics of resource supply represents a complex issue warranting comprehensive policy approaches.   And it literally concerns a metal that touches us — more precisely, we touch it — every day, too many times to count. A decision to [...]
  • It’s Not Fairy Dust: Unleashing the Potential of American Manufacturing Requires Understanding of Underlying Fundamentals

    With the first primaries only weeks away, the Presidential campaign season is in full swing. As candidates continue to trade barbs on a broad variety of issues (and non-issues), the American electorate remains most concerned about the state of the U.S. economy. A “renaissance” in manufacturing has helped create jobs in a post-recession economy. However, [...]