American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Arvida, Quebec – Putting a Face on the Specter of Trade War Over Aluminum and Steel

    Last month, our very own Dan McGroarty argued in a piece for Investor’s Business Daily that the escalation of the trade war over U.S.-imposed trade tariffs on Canadian made aluminum and steel has serious implications not only for our economy, but also for the U.S. defense industrial base.  In it, he outlined the genesis of the United States’ special relationship with our neighbors to the North with whom we share “the world’s most integrated defense industrial base.”

    Via a recent Bloomberg story, we are getting a glimpse into what this U.S.- Canadian “symbiosis” looks like.  Danielle Bochove reports from Arvida, Quebec, home to a giant smelter built by Americans that supplied most of the Allied forces’ aluminum in World War II.  Today, as part of the “2.5 million metric tons that Canada sends over the border each year,” the very same smelter provides U.S. beer makers with metal used in their cans, U.S. automakers with the metal used in their cars, and the U.S. military with the metal used in its weaponry.

    Writes Bochove:

    “The Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region is part of a cross-border ecosystem that supplies almost half of the aluminum used in the U.S., including the metal found in three out of four American cars. Arvida is the epicenter. Built in 1926 by Alcoa President Arthur Vining Davis, the town is an acronym of the American industrialist’s name. One of the earliest examples of a company town, Arvida has been absorbed into the city of Saguenay, but its main street remains vibrant and the original architecture largely intact.”

    Retracing the history of the smelter which has supplied thousands local jobs over course of the last century, during which it was hit by the Depression, “reborn” during World War II and saw ebbing and flowing concurrent with global market developments as well as the 2007 takeover by Rio Tinto, Bochove says the industry’s influence can be seen and felt everywhere:

    “From 1926 to 1960, only Alcan employees were eligible to serve as city counselors in Arvida, said Bruno Fradette, an amateur historian and third-generation employee. In a tour of the town, he pointed out examples of its American heritage. Buildings and roads are named after American founders, and the main street is lined with posters celebrating its aluminum history.

    When Rio [Tinto, ] took over, local sentiment swung from pride in ownership to pride over the asset’s environmental sustainability, Mayor Neron said. Aluminum has long provided high-quality jobs in Saguenay, but initiatives—including a recent push with Apple Inc. to make the metal without greenhouse gases—have the potential to further increase quality. Residents already refer to the region’s product as ‘green aluminum,’ she said, because processing is powered by Quebec’s abundant hydroelectricity.”

    In response to the U.S.-imposed tariffs, Canada imposed retaliatory tariffs on US exports worth 16.6 billion Canadian dollars ($12.5 billion).  While industry experts like Rio Tinto’s head of aluminum Alf Barrios believe that U.S. manufacturers ultimately have no choice but to buy from Canada, Arvida’s mayor is concerned about what the escalation of the trade war means for the region and its people.

    Writes Bochove:

    “For the mayor, the mushrooming trade tensions are depressingly familiar. Saguenay’s other original economic base, pulp and paper, has been devastated by decades of U.S. protectionism around softwood lumber. Neron’s fear is that aluminum will follow.”

    To read the full piece, click here.

  • McGroarty for IBD: “Subjecting U.S. Aluminum Access to Trade Tensions with Canada National Security Crisis Waiting to Happen”

    Against the backdrop of the recent escalation of the U.S.-Canada trade war, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty argues in a new piece for Investor’s Business Daily that while “the focus has been on U.S.-imposed trade tariffs on Canadian-made aluminum and steel, and their economic impact,” the “damage the tariffs may do to the U.S. defense industrial base” may be an even greater concern.

    Retracing the genesis of the United States’ special relationship with our neighbors to the North with whom we share more than a metaphorical linkage, but rather “the world’s most integrated defense industrial base,” McGroarty asks the question that is leaving observers scratching their heads:

    “How is it that the Trump administration has chosen a path that threatens a trade war with our closest defense ally — at precisely the time that the president has rightly shined a spotlight on American shortfalls in 35 critical minerals and metals essential, in the words of the White House executive order, to the ‘U.S. economy and national security’?”

    McGroarty warns that “[s]ubjecting U.S. aluminum access, when China possesses more than half the world’s aluminum smelting capacity, to trade tensions with our ally Canada is a national security crisis waiting to happen.”

    To read more click here.

  • ARPN’s McGroarty for Investor’s Business Daily: U.S. Mineral Resource Dependence a “Clear and Present Danger”

    Against the backdrop of growing threats to U.S. security – recent flash points involve Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea – a new Presidential Executive Order “On Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States,” zeroes in on defense readiness. The E.O. requires heads from various [...]
  • Scandium – Ready to “Take Off”?

    Remember the Light Rider?  A few months ago, we highlighted this high-tech motorcycle, which, because it is held together by an intricate web of “Scalmalloy,” is perhaps the lightest motorcycle in the world. Scalmalloy is an “aluminum alloy powder ‘with almost the specific strength of titanium’ [used] to build incredible structures by fusing thin layers of the material together.” One [...]
  • McGroarty on Critical Minerals: “It’s Not Your Grandfather’s Infrastructure”

    The New Year is now a little over a week old and the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States is just around the corner.  And while some are still dwelling on 2016 (we offered our post mortem at the end of the year), the time has come to look at what’s in store. One of [...]
  • 2016 – A Mixed Bag for Mineral Resource Policy

    It’s that time of the year again.  And as people are gearing up for the New Year, we are taking the opportunity to take stock of the last twelve months, and want to highlight a few select notable developments of relevance to ARPN followers. From a mineral resource policy perspective, we saw some positive developments [...]
  • Through the Gateway: A Scholarly Look

    Over the course of the past few months, we have featured two classes of metals and minerals, which we believe deserve more attention than they are currently being awarded.  Expanding on the findings of our 2012 “Gateway Metals and the Foundations of American Technology” report, in which we focused on a group of five “Gateway” metals which [...]
  • Through the Gateway: Scandium Embodies Materials Science Revolution

    As we near the conclusion of our journey “Through the Gateway,” we noticed that one metal has kept popping up in our coverage – Scandium. A co-product of Tin, we also discussed it in the context of the alloying properties of Gateway Metal Aluminum. It is also a co-product of Nickel. There is good reason it keeps popping up. For [...]
  • 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: The Geopolitics of Co-Product Supply – a Look at Scandium

    Throughout ARPN’s work, we have consistently highlighted the geopolitical dimension of mineral resource policy.  Where we source (or fail to source) our metals and minerals is an often forgotten – or ignored – factor, with implications for our domestic manufacturers, and, at times, even for our national security. Case in point – and in keeping [...]