American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • A Hot Take From Detroit: Time to Bring Battery Production Here — All the Way to The Mines

    As the electrification of the global vehicle fleet continues to gain steam, Ford Motor Co.’s president and CEO Jim Farley recently made some comments during a live-streamed interview with the director of Detroit Homecoming VIII Mary Kramer that should give policy makers some food for thought.

    Expressing his concerns about the affordability of electric vehicles for the average vehicle buyer against the backdrop of rising raw material costs and supply chain challenges, Farley alluded to the challenges associated with the “Not in My Backyard” mentality. He said to provide affordable solutions for the broad customer base,

    “[w]e have to bring battery production here, but the supply chain has to go all the way to the mines. That’s where the real cost is and people in the U.S. don’t want mining in their neighborhoods.”

    It’s a classic example of what a recent Financial Times story called the “Green Dilemma” — to meet soaring demand and develop supply chains that are not reliant on adversary nations, both new domestic mining and processing capabilities should be boosted, but, as one mining executive quoted in the FT piece put it, while domestic —responsible — mining would be preferable to outsourcing it to China, “[e]nvironmentalists want to have their cake and eat it. They want these materials for the EV sector — but if they’re causing environmental devastation [in China], then how are you going to put them into green technologies?”

    Farley did not mince words when he asked:

    “So are we going to import lithium and pull cobalt from nation-states that have child labor and all sorts of corruption or all we going to get serious about mining? … We have to solve these things and we don’t have much time.”

    Farley is correct. Demand scenarios for battery tech materials are rising astronomically.

    But — the good news is that, as we have previously argued, the mining industry “[is] already actively working to meet the increased expectations of consumers, society and governments” to contribute towards the push towards a greener energy future — not just at the mining, but also at the processing stage.

    The industry has increasingly been harnessing advances in materials science and technology to meet the challenge of developing a domestic critical minerals supply chain while maintaining and advancing responsible mining and processing practices — examples of which can be found here.

    As we have previously stated:

    “Recent studies — we featured the latest IEA study here — and policy experts agree: against the mounting pressures of the 21st Century Tech Metals Age, keeping it all in the ground is too simplistic, and a holistic ‘all of the above’ approach to energy and critical minerals is the only viable path to success.”

    Hopefully policy makers in Washington, D.C. are listening to Farley’s hot take from Detroit.

  • The Genesis and Development of the “Battery Arms Race”

    It’s no secret in the critical minerals space — and increasingly beyond — that “we are in the midst of a battery arms race.”  Today, “battery arms race” is a frequently used phrase to describe the rise of lithium Ion battery megafactories, but did you know that it was one of the ARPN expert panel members who coined it?

    In a recent blog post for the company blog, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s managing director Simon Moores — who is also a member of the ARPN panel of experts — recounts how the term he first mentioned in 2015 has gone mainstream.

    When he first used the phrase in 2015, Moores’ company was tracking seven lithium Ion battery megafactories.

    A lot has changed since then, as followers of ARPN well know — thankfully not just in terms of global numbers, but also in terms of what has been happening in the United States, where efforts to overhaul critical mineral resource policy and securing our supply chains are finally being prioritized.

    Writes Moores:

    “Be under no illusions that this is a moment. 

    The battery arms race trend was set in motion in 2015, but we can now comfortably say: ‘the megafactories are mainstream.’ The journey has taken Benchmark to the top of world governance including The White House, The Pentagon and The G7.

    The world’s governments are listening. And with this political will adding to industry commitment, Benchmark’s Lithium ion Battery Megafactory Assessment now reads 225 plants and rising.

    And the USA is no longer a bystander.”

    As our federal policy makers reconvene after their August recess, here’s hoping that the momentum for reform in the context of the battery arms race, generated in part by the Biden Administration’s 100-Day Supply Chain assessment (which we covered in our latest report) carries over and does not fizzle.

  • Demand for Certain Metals and Minerals to Increase by Nearly 500%, According to New World Bank Study

    At ARPN, we have long argued that the current push towards a lower-carbon future is not possible without mining, as green energy technology relies heavily on a score of critical metals and minerals. The World Bank’s latest report, entitled “The Mineral Intensity of the Clean Energy Transition,” published earlier this week in the context of the [...]
  • Against Backdrop of Battery Arms Race, Chemists Receive Nobel Prize for Work on Lithium-Ion Technology

    Critical minerals are a hot button issue.  Materials that long seemed obscure like Rare Earths, Lithium, Cobalt, Graphite, and Nickel have entered the mainstream and are making headlines every day.   Against the backdrop of the ongoing materials science revolution and the intensifying battery arms race, it is only fitting that this month, three pioneers of Lithium-ion battery technology [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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. 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 [...]
  • Welcome to the “Ion Age”? The Ongoing Rise of Battery Technology

    Unless you’ve spent the last few years under a rock, you know that battery technology is the new black. With a new detailed “briefing” feature, The Guardian even goes as far as ringing in the “Ion Age” – a play on lithium-ion battery technology, which continues to make headlines. Writers Adam Vaughan and Samuel Gibbs [...]
  • A View From Across the Pond: European Resource Policy Through the Prism of a Low-Carbon Vision

    The recently-released Defense Industrial Base study, which once more has underscored the need for a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. resource policy, directed its focus on U.S. competitiveness primarily vis-à-vis China. Already vast and resource-rich, the country has demonstrated an insatiable appetite for the world’s mineral resources and has pursued an aggressive strategy to gain access [...]
  • Vanadium’s Time to Shine?

    Steve LeVine, Future Editor at Axios and Senior Fellow at The Atlantic Council, has called it “one of the most confounding areas of research” and a “technology that, while invented more than two centuries ago, is still frustrating scientists.”   It is also one of the areas where one of the key growth industries – [...]