American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • New Law Underscores Real-Life Challenges of Untangling Complex Supply Chains

    As U.S. policy makers and other stakeholders scramble to secure supply chains to meet rising demand for battery criticals against the backdrop of a pandemic, geopolitical tensions and war, as well as rising resource nationalism in the Southern hemisphere, a newly enacted law threatens to make President Biden’s already ambitious push to require that 50 percent of all vehicles sold be electric by 2030 even more difficult to see through.

    The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act signed into law by President Biden on December 23, 2021 establishes “a rebuttable presumption that the importation of any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, or produced by certain entities, is prohibited by Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and that such goods, wares, articles, and merchandise are not entitled to entry to the United States.”

    In short, this means that companies importing goods from China’s Xinjiang region to must provide “clear and convincing evidence” that no component was produced with slave labor.  According to Cullen Hendrix, a non-resident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the measure will in all likelihood“amount to an effective ban on imports from Xinjiang and products that have Xinjiang-produced elements in their supply chains,” sending businesses scrambling to find different sources of supply for materials and products.

    While a diversification of critical mineral supply chains away from China and other adversaries is long overdue, the enforcement of the new law underscores the real-life practical challenges associated with detangling complex supply chains, after having too many eggs in one basket for too long — particularly as demand for the metals and minerals underpinning the sought-after green energy shift has soared exponentially.

    Having underestimated the seriousness of our nation’s critical mineral supply chain challenges for too long, the United States must now play catch up – fast – and harness a  comprehensive “all of-the-above” approach across the entire value chain — from mine to manufacturing.  Fortunately, as the National Mining Association’s Rich Nolan pointed out earlier this year, “our challenge is one of policy, not geology. We have the resources to supply significant domestic production for many of the metals most essential to advanced energy technologies.” 

    Now is the time to kick our efforts to leverage them into high gear.

  • Beyond the Rare Earths and Battery Criticals – U.S. Armed Services Committee Seeks to Address Supply Chain Challenges for Antimony

    Underscoring the growing awareness that our nation’s overreliance on foreign supplies of critical minerals underpinning 21st century technology stretches beyond the much-discussed Rare Earths and battery criticals lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite, and manganese, the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services has released draft legislation to address China’s stranglehold on the supply chain for antimony.

    Used in munitions for national defense as well as civilian applications ranging from flame retardants over wind and hydro turbines and solar panels to large storage batteries, spaceships and semiconductors, to name but a few of its uses, antimony has not only made the United States’ Critical Minerals List, but has also been designated “critical” by Canada, Australia, and the European Union.

    While there is potential to re-establish domestic antimony production, currently, there is no current mining of antimony in the United States. China is the lead global antimony producer accounting for 55% of global mine production, followed by Russia at 23%, according to USGS figures.  Already, as USGS notes, “[t]he supply of antimony raw materials and downstream production of antimony products was constrained in 2021 as a result of environmental audits in China and various temporary mine shutdowns to mitigate the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic.”  The Russian invasion of Ukraine and resulting geopolitical tension has further sparked concerns among members of the Armed Services Committee that recent developments could “accelerate supply chain disruptions.” 

    Therefore, a report accompanying the draft legislation would require the National Defense Stockpile Manager “to provide a briefing to the House Committee on Armed Services not later than September 30, 2022, on the stockpile status of antimony. The briefing shall include not only the status of the current stockpile, but also a 5-year outlook of these minerals and current and future supply chain vulnerabilities.”

    It is encouraging to see policy stakeholders are beginning to see our nation’s critical minerals challenge in a broader context stretching beyond the rare earths and battery criticals.  However, as followers of ARPN well know, draft legislation is just the very first stop in a long journey.

    Even if legislation is enacted, it unfortunately is not always effectively implemented, as recent correspondence by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), a senior member of the committee, in a series of joint letters to key members of the Biden Administration lamenting the delayed implementation of several critical minerals provisions enacted in 2020 and 2021, shows.

    In 2019, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty told U.S. Senators in a hearing on critical mineral supply chain issues, that we “can’t admire the problem anymore. We don’t have the luxury of time.”

    That was almost three years ago, and before a global pandemic sent supply chains into turmoil and before Russia decided to invade Ukraine.   The stakes are too high to not act swiftly and comprehensively, in the context of an “all-of-the-above” approach across the entire value chain, from mine to manufacturing.

  • Critical Minerals in Focus – U.S. Senate Full Committee Hearing on Domestic Critical Mineral Supply Chains

    Bearing testimony to a growing awareness of our nation’s critical mineral resource challenge, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a full committee hearing on domestic critical mineral supply chains earlier this week. The witness panel at the hearing, which E&E Daily described as “a largely pro-mining hearing that could serve as a blueprint for a potential deal [...]
  • ARPN Expert Panel Member: Create Framework to “Insulate Domestic Producers from Market Manipulation While Fostering Innovation” in Effort to Decouple From China

    In a recent piece for RealClearDefense Jeffery A. Green, president and founder of J.A. Green & Company, and member of the ARPN panel of experts, outlines a set of four main lines of efforts policy makers should focus on as they develop policy recommendations based on a recent executive order and House task force set [...]
  • ARPN’s McGroarty at Virtual Forum: “Apply an ‘All of the Above’ Approach to Critical Minerals — Both in Terms of Development and Federal Policy”

    Speaking at a virtual forum hosted by House Committee on Natural Resources Republicans on the role of critical minerals in geopolitics, renewable energy production and beyond earlier today, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty called on policy stakeholder to apply the “all of the above” approach that helped reverse decades of American dependence on foreign oil to the [...]
  • Critical Mineral Developments Continue in the Waning Days of 2020 — and Into the Early Days of the New Year

    If you’ve read our Year in Review post last month, you know 2020 was a busy year on the mineral resource policy front — so much so that even the last few days of December had several important developments. Most notably, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. While most of the media’s attention [...]
  • Copper’s Anti-Microbial Properties Strike Again: Another Possible Breakthrough in the Fight to Stop Coronavirus Surface Transmission

    The ongoing coronavirus pandemic may derailed public life as we know it, but it has not slowed the pace at which the materials science revolution is yielding research breakthroughs. Whether it’s the development of vaccines, rapid tests, new treatment methods or novel materials for personal protective equipment (PPE) at neck-breaking speeds – we’re seeing innovation [...]
  • U.S. Senator and AK Governor for The Hill: With China Having Taken Control of Critical Mineral Supply Chains, We Need to Act Now

    Beijing’s threat to withhold potentially life-saving medical supplies and medications in the middle of a global pandemic, during which China has “taken control of [respective] supply chains around the world as part of its quest for global domination,” were a wake up call, write U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R-AK) in [...]
  • Russia Pushes for Global Rare Earth Market Share as U.S. Struggles to Move Forward With Critical Minerals Initiatives

    Russia is certainly making headlines this week.  Quite obviously, much of the media attention is focused around President Vladimir Putin’s declaration that Russia has approved a vaccine for the coronavirus (after less than two months of testing) — but developments in the critical minerals realm also warrant attention: A top Russian government official has told [...]
  • U.S. Senate To Take Up Comprehensive Bipartisan Legislation Containing Critical Minerals Provisions As Early As This Week

    The U.S. Senate may cast a vote on a comprehensive bipartisan energy legislation package that contains provisions pertaining to critical mineral resource supply issues as early as this week.   S. 2657 is the legislative vehicle for the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA), a package consisting of several pieces of legislation, which reflect the “priorities of [...]