American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Policy Makers Step Up Efforts to Secure Domestic Critical Mineral Supply Chains — U.S. Senators Introduce the “Critical Mineral Independence Act of 2022”

    As geopolitical tensions continue to mount, and China tightens its reins on its critical mineral supply chains, U.S. policy makers are stepping up their efforts to secure domestic supply chains.

    The latest case in point: Sen. Dan Sullivan’s (R-Alaska) and Mitt Romney’s (R-Utah) just-introduced Critical Mineral Independence Act of 2022,” legislation aimed at reducing the United States’ over-reliance on China for its critical mineral needs by strengthening provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which had previously given a boost to critical mineral mining and processing.

    Operating under the premise that “the U.S. cannot afford to allow the critical minerals used by the Department of Defense (DoD) to be mined or processed in adversarial countries, and it must urgently invest and build its capabilities to achieve critical mineral independence in coordination with allies,” the bill would:

    • “[d]irect the expansion of critical mineral mining and processing in the U.S. and allied countries to achieve critical mineral supply chain independence for the Department of Defense by 2027;
    • [r]equire the director of the Defense Logistics Agency to develop a strategy to expedite critical mineral mining and processing, and then requires the implementation of that strategy;
    • [and a]uthorize the use of the underlying $1 billion in the NDAA to execute the procurement strategy.”

    In a statement on the introduction of the bill, Sen. Sullivan highlighted the United States’ vast domestic mineral potential, much of which could be unleashed in the Senators home state of Alaska. He says:

    “We cannot continue to be dependent on China for critical minerals—resources that are crucial to our economy, and which we have in abundance in the U.S., particularly in Alaska like the significant copper and zinc resources in the Ambler Mining District that the Biden administration—remarkably—continues to delay.”  

    [To keep up with Alaska’s critical mineral potential and current developments, be sure to follow North of 60 Mining News’s Shane Lasley, whose work ARPN has featured on many occasions.]

    Sen. Sullivan adds:

    “If we are going to build out and support our domestic clean energy industries and national security initiatives, we need to get serious about a strategy for unleashing America’s national supply chains and processing capabilities. In doing so, we will create thousands of good-paying jobs, protect our national security interests, deny economic support for violators of basic human rights and build out America’s all-of-the-above energy sector.” 

    With the mid-term elections now in the rear view mirror and policy makers increasingly realizing the urgency of securing critical mineral resource supply chains to bolster our nation’s national security and economic wellbeing, momentum for mineral resource policy reform is building.  ARPN will track the “Critical Mineral Independence Act of 2022” along with other legislative efforts in the coming months.

  • On National Miners Day, A Look at The Mining Industry’s Contributions to Sustainably Greening our Future

    “December 6 is National Miners Day… a fitting time to reflect on how much miners provide to allow for our modern way of life. (…)”  

    You might not recognize how mining plays a role in your daily life. Most people do not see the raw materials produced by mining, from metals and minerals to coal and stone, sand, and gravel. Instead, we use items every day that come from mined raw materials, never knowing that mining played an integral part in the development of the mobile devices we use, the roads we travel on, the cookware we use to make our meals, and the mined fertilizers that helped grow our food. These products, in addition to countless other necessities and conveniences, start with mining.”

    This is not an excerpt from a puff piece written by a trade association – it’s a snippet from the CDC website today, and many other U.S. government agencies, as well as Members of Congress have put out similar statements acknowledging the mining industry’s contributions to our modern way of life.

    Since 2009, when National Miners Day was first proclaimed by Congress to be observed every December 6, awareness of the importance of metals and minerals, and securing their supply chains, has steadily grown.

    Fueled by a global pandemic severing supply chains and compounded by mounting environmental and geopolitical pressures, and the realization that our green energy future will be mineral intensive, critical mineral supply chain security today is more than a buzz word, and stakeholders understand the need to — responsibly and sustainably — mine and process the metals and minerals that underpin the global push towards net zero carbon emissions and 21stCentury technology in the broader sense.

    Thankfully, the mining industry is ready to meet the challenge and is not only upping the ante on the ESG front in general, but is specifically leveraging the materials science revolution to sustainably develop and process the metals and minerals we need today and in the future.

    In recent years, ARPN has been showcasing initiatives by mining companies to sustainably green the future, ranging from overhauling supply chain policies to ensure suppliers conform to certain environmental and social standards to incorporating renewable power sources into their operations to offset some of the carbon costs for resource development.

    Perhaps most recently, in November of 2022, mining equipment manufacturer Caterpillar announced a successful demonstration of its first battery electric large mining truck, going hand in hand with a “significant investment to transform its Arizona-based proving ground into a sustainable testing and validation hub of the future.”

    Many more initiatives are underway (several are featured here and here), and we will continue to feature them going forward.

  • As Green Energy Push Accelerates, EV Battery Focus Shifts Toward the Anode – A Look at Natural vs. Synthetic Graphite

    As the global push towards net zero carbon emissions accelerates, the understanding that critical minerals hold the key to achieving climate goals has grown.   With EV battery technology at the heart of the green energy transition, the “Battery Criticals” (lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite and manganese) have entered the spotlight.   While initially the main focus was on the cathode materials (…) more

  • China Tightens Reins On Its Critical Mineral Supply Chains

    As geopolitical tensions continue to mount and supply chain challenges loom large across many sectors, Beijing is tightening reins on its critical mineral supply chains. According to news reports, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced plans to increase its supervision of China’s lithium battery supply chain, which, according to the ministry, is “severely unbalanced.” (…) more

  • The Blessings of a New World – Thanksgiving 2022

    The following is a modified post ARPN has run each Thanksgiving since 2012: Tomorrow is American Thanksgiving – a celebration of the blessings afforded by our forefathers as they overcame adversity in a new land, laboring to obtain from the resources around them the necessities of life: food, shelter, and warmth against winter’s cold. Since that (…) more

  • Sustainably Building Out Domestic Supply Chains — Auto and Battery Makers Rethink Their Value Chains in Wake of Recent Regulatory Changes and Intensifying Competition

    In recent months, and in particular in the wake of the recently-passed congressional Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), we have seen a long overdue uptick in efforts to build out a secure North American critical minerals supply chain. Not surprisingly, many of these efforts are focused on what ARPN has dubbed the “super-criticals” – the five battery materials, plus (…) more

  • As Stakes Mount, U.S. Senators Lament Agencies’ Failure to Meet Timelines for Permitting Report Required by Federal Law

    While there has been a flurry of activity at the federal level to strengthen U.S. critical mineral supply chains against the backdrop of mounting global and domestic pressures, some of the early proponents of mineral resource policy reform on Capitol Hill are questioning the Biden Administration’s commitment to improving the federal mine permitting process “to help (…) more

  • Energy Provisions in Inflation Reduction Act Spur Efforts to Build Out U.S. Battery Supply Chain, as States Step Up Their Own Efforts

    The energy provisions in the recently passed congressional Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) are beginning to bear fruit.  Standing to get $35 million in government subsidies for every gigagwatt-hour of cell storage capacity produced, battery suppliers are stepping up their efforts in the United States. As the Wall Street Journal reports, Norwegian battery maker Freyr and energy conglomerate (…) more

  • Canada’s New Critical Mineral Investment Rules for State-Owned Entities Harden Already-Drawn “Geopolitical Battle-Lines in the Metals Sector”

    Within days of Canada outlining new investment stipulations for state-owned entities aimed at protecting the country’s critical minerals sector, the Canadian government last week told three Chinese resource companies to divest their interests in Canadian critical mineral firms. Basing the decision on “facts and evidence and on the advice of critical minerals subject matter experts, Canada’s (…) more

  • Critical Minerals and the National Strategy for the Arctic Region

    We’re “on a highway to climate hell.” The picture UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez is painting of current efforts in the climate fight is – expectedly – bleak. As such, it is no surprise that nations have been doubling down on their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the Biden Administration is no exception. Followers of ARPN have (…) more