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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • As Allies Take Steps to Unleash Mineral Potential, U.S. Must Not Become Complacent – “Friend-Shoring” Piece of the Puzzle, not Panacea

    As U.S. stakeholders grapple with the question of how to bolster U.S. supply chains for the battery criticals and other critical minerals amidst skyrocketing demand scenarios and growing geopolitical pressures, our allies are taking steps of their own to unleash their mineral potential.

    Looking north, in order to “secure Canada’s place in important supply chains with other countries and [to] implement a just and sustainable Critical Minerals Strategy,” the Trudeau government 2022 budget blueprint released earlier this month proposes up to $3.8 billion over eight years beginning in the fiscal year 2022-23 in “significant investments, while working closely with affected Indigenous groups, to contribute to the development of a domestic zero-emissions vehicle chain.”  

    Meanwhile, across the globe, the Australian Federal Government announced its 2022 Critical Minerals Strategy in March of this year, building on the first Critical Minerals Strategy initially published in 2019.  According to the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, the revised strategy “has a vision to put Australia at the centre of meeting the growing demand for critical minerals. It will underpin our prosperity and security by improving access to reliable, secure and resilient supplies of critical minerals.” By de-risking projects, creating an “enabling” environment and strengthening international partnerships, the Australian government aims to make Australia a “global critical minerals powerhouse by 2030, delivering stable supply, sovereign capability and regional jobs and growth to Australia.”

    In keeping with the Biden-Administration’s emphasis on leveraging international partnerships with close allies, the United States has continued to work closely with Canada and Australia to strengthen and formalize mineral resource cooperation. Most recently, Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo met in Washington, D.C. at the end of March for the inaugural Australia-US Strategic Commercial Dialogue (AUSSCD) to discuss the accelerating green energy transition and related mineral resource challenges.  The executive-level roundtable highlighted the importance of developing shared approaches to ESG and traceability standards and working with other like-minded partners to build resilient supply chains.

    These developments are encouraging, but tempting as it may be – particularly in light of the pervasive nature of the “paradox of the green revolution”, as Reuters columnist Andy Home called the paradox that “public opinion is firmly in favour of decarbonisation but not the mines and smelters needed to get there” – we must not be complacent and rely too much on friend-shoring.

    With the advent of political campaign season, the balancing act to reconcile green credentials with the acknowledged need for domestic resource development will not get any easier for the Biden Administration.  “Friend-shoring” is certainly an important pillar of the “all-of-the-above” concept, but, in light of mounting demand and ever higher stakes with Russia’s war on Ukraine and rising resource nationalism, it is insufficient to alleviate our overall problem.

    Thankfully, as ARPN has consistently argued“[t]he good news is that courtesy of the materials science revolution, industry can harness new technologies to do expand our mining infrastructure responsibly and sustainably – (…) and as even Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm acknowledged [last] summer during a U.S. Senate hearing:  ‘This is the United States. We can mine in a responsible way. And many places are doing it. And there are some places where there are more challenges, but we can do this.’” 

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  • Canada Takes Steps Towards A North American Battery Supply Chain

    Canada is currently in the process of positioning itself as “a cornerstone of the North American battery supply chain,” writes James Frith in a recent piece for Bloomberg.

    Pointing to two battery cell manufacturers choosing Canada as a future site of operation —UK-headquartered Britishvolt and Canadian-headquartered Stromvolt — Frith argues that “Canada is now on course to create a strong domestic battery supply chain” — which, in light of increasing EV demand in North America, could grow to “challenge the dominance of China, and it is quickly catching up with the growing industry in Europe.”

    From south of the border, these developments are highly relevant in the context of an emerging North American integrated supply chain for critical minerals, with Canada and the United States being able to leverage a long history of close cooperation and trade, as well as the USMCA free trade agreement — under which “batteries produced in Canada can be sold to the EV supply chain in the U.S.”

     Both countries have in recent years explored ways to cooperate in their efforts to secure critical mineral supply chains, but in the past few months, against the backdrop of starkly rising demand scenarios for the metals and minerals underpinning the green energy transition, calls for a further deepening of cooperation between the two countries have been getting louder.  Most recently, former U.S. ambassador to Canada David Jacobson made the case for tackling “this new challenge by together establishing our place in the global supply chain.”

    At ARPN, we’re all in on collaboration — however, it should not distract us from responsibly building out our own domestic mining and processing capabilities for critical minerals.  As we’ve said before:

    “Let’s do it. Let’s build out an integrated North American supply chain for critical minerals where possible — but let’s also not forget that closer cooperation with our friends and allies AND strengthening domestic resource development should not be considered mutually exclusive strategies.”

     

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  • Strengthening U.S.-Canadian Critical Mineral Resource Cooperation in the Context of an All-of-the-Above Strategy

    Against the backdrop of a new government having been elected in Canada, former U.S. ambassador to Canada David Jacobson makes the case for the United States and Canada to deepen cooperation in the realm of critical mineral resources in a recent piece for the Globe and Mail. Highlighting the longstanding “long and productive partnership on everything [...]
  • Close Allies Map Critical Mineral Cooperation

    “Do I have to draw you a map?” As idioms go, that phrase is much nicer than the message it intends – but it’s apt for a new exercise linking the collective expertise of the geological surveys of Australia, Canada and the U.S.: an interactive world map of deposits of rare earths and other critical [...]
  • Independence Day 2021 — Towards Greater Mineral Resource Independence?

    After a long wait — with many parades and fireworks honor the men and women who have fought for, and continue to safeguard our freedoms canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic — Independence Day 2021 is upon us. With many of the pandemic-related restrictions lifted, celebrating our freedoms this year feels a little [...]
  • Report from The Yukon: Critical Minerals Challenge Brings “Geopolitical Backwater” Into Focus

    As we outlined in our last post, the Biden Administration’s strategy to secure critical mineral supply chains, as outlined in its just-released 100 Day Supply Chain Report, embraces an “all of the above approach.” While strengthening sustainable mining and processing domestically, the Administration will also rely on partnerships with our closest allies — and of [...]
  • 100-Day Supply Chain Report — Striking a Balance Between Strengthening Domestic Resource Development and Cooperation With Allies

    In its just-released 100-Day Supply Chain Report, the Biden Administration has committed to an “all of the above” approach to critical minerals — a “wrap-around strategy” that includes recycling, substitution, as well as new mining, as Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm told U.S. Senators earlier this month. While investing in “sustainable production, refining, and recycling [...]
  • A Look North: Challenges and Opportunities Relating to Canada’s Critical Mineral Resource Dependence on China

    Like the United States, Canada has subjected itself to an “increasingly uncomfortable reliance” on China for critical mineral supplies, but its wealth of metals and minerals beneath the country’s soil could, if properly harnessed, give Canada a significant strategic advantage in years to come, mining executives and experts recently told Canada’s House of Commons resource [...]
  • Canada’s Just-Released List of 31 Critical Minerals Includes Key Gateway Metals

    As demand for critical minerals is increasing in the context of the global shift towards a green energy future, Canada’s Minister of Resources Seamus O’Regan Jr. earlier this week announced the release of a Canadian list of 31 metals and minerals deemed critical “for the sustainable economic success of Canada and our allies—minerals that can [...]
  • Event Alert: “Critical Minerals Forum 2021” – A February Webinar Series on Critical Mineral Research

    It’s 2021, and the wild ride 2020 has taken us on continues. There were quite a few developments in the critical minerals realm over the past few months (for a recap see our two summary posts here and here, but if you thought things were about to slow down, you might be wrong. While emphases [...]

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