American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • More market manipulations from China?

    According to media reports surfacing this week, China is looking to cut essentially cut mining rights for REE producers in half – to 67 points down from 113.

    Analysts tie the move into China’s overall effort to “strengthen its pricing power in the international rare earth market.” This wouldn’t be the first time China, which still controls roughly 95% of global Rare Earths production, resorts to market-manipulation schemes. In recent history, suppliers have seen prices affected by embargos, export quotas and other restrictions. Whatever China’s motives, however, these news underscore the necessity for U.S. lawmakers to realize that China remains a force to be reckoned with in the resource world, and has to be factored in when formulating a critical mineral strategy.

  • The “cultural necessity” of Rare Earths

    This week, the San Francisco Chronicle zeroed in on Rare Earths. Pointing to the “cultural necessity” of REEs – columnist Brooks Mencher calls them “as critical to the Age of Technology as cement and steel were to the Age of Industry” – the article discusses the relevance of Rare Earths against the backdrop of China’s near-total supply monopoly, and attempts to give a glimpse into the future.

    The conclusion? With new global exploration, new mining projects coming online, increased recycling and coordination of mine-to-magnet production, the days of China’s REE stranglehold may be numbered, but the question remains whether all of this will suffice to “guarantee the unrestricted supply of rare earths for this Age of Technology.” Says Mencher:

    In the near term, China’s still holding most of the cards, and rare earths will remain in demand. In the words of Jack Lifton, “Ain’t nobody going backward.” The United States must diversify its supply lines and is doing so, but to move ahead will also require, at the very least, cooperation among nations.

  • Italian Antimony project expected to progress within weeks

    International supply woes for Antimony may see an easing going forward as an Italian mining project progresses. According to The Telegraph, Canada-based Androit Resources expects to get its permits for exploratory drilling in Southern Tuscany within weeks. As with virtually any mining project, there is local opposition to the project based on environmental concerns, but [...]
  • U.K. House of Commons advances metal theft legislation

    Metal prices may be sluggish, but type in the key words “metal theft,” and any news search will yield at least ten stories from local papers on stolen copper wires, scrap metal, or parts from street lights or a/c units. Metal theft is far more than local petty crime, however, and its far-reaching implications have [...]
  • Pentagon takes steps to tackle China’s near-total REE supply monopoly

    Business Week’s Lydia Mulvany covers the U.S. Department of Defense’s recent efforts to “crack China’s monopoly on mining the most valuable rare earths.” In early October, we discussed the Pentagon’s studying of Canadian mining company Ucore Rare Metal Inc.’s REE-rich Bokan Mountain property in southeast Alaska, but according to a recent Business Week story, the [...]
  • Japan continues to diversify its REE suppliers with imports from Kazakhstan

    Against the backdrop of mounting tensions in the territorial dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, Japan has recently been stepping up its efforts to diversify the sources of its mineral resource supply. Japan-based Sumitomo Corporation will import Rare Earths from Kazakhstan, according to the website Finance GreenWatch. With the backing of the [...]
  • Tungsten and Fluorspar – strategic implications of mineral resource supply issues stretch beyond REEs

    You wouldn’t necessarily expect to find Tungsten and Fluorspar mentioned in the same sentence as “Rare Earth Metals.” With its traditional applications in ballistics, the former is historically known as a “war metal,” while the latter has been an important component for chemical applications. And in spite of the fact that Tungsten makes the top [...]
  • Malaysian REE permitting delays show “rare earths shortage isn’t over yet”

    A recent opinion piece in Forbes Magazine points out that “The Rare Earths Shortage Isn’t Over Yet.” According to columnist Tim Worstall this is not for a lack of opportunities to mine Rare Earths around the world. The real “chokepoint,” he says, is the “ability to process rare earths,” an area where China’s near total [...]
  • “The New Black”? New study examines graphite’s potential

    Graphite’s uses have long been diverse, but, according to the experts at Industrial Minerals Data, the “emergence of the Li-ion battery era” – with Li-ion technology being key to our everyday portable electronic gadgets – has the “potential to turn the industry on its head.” Coupled with the ostensibly endless potential applications for the “new [...]
  • Indian-Japanese Rare Earths cooperation underscores geopolitical dimension of resource policy

    Dwarfed by Chinese production today, it may be hard to imagine that India was once the world’s leading Rare Earths producer. The country is now trying to gain foot hold in a market it dominated in the 1950s, and is hoping to benefit from a territorial dispute in the East China Sea. In the wake [...]