American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Policy Makers Step Up Efforts to Secure Domestic Critical Mineral Supply Chains — U.S. Senators Introduce the “Critical Mineral Independence Act of 2022”

    As geopolitical tensions continue to mount, and China tightens its reins on its critical mineral supply chains, U.S. policy makers are stepping up their efforts to secure domestic supply chains.

    The latest case in point: Sen. Dan Sullivan’s (R-Alaska) and Mitt Romney’s (R-Utah) just-introduced Critical Mineral Independence Act of 2022,” legislation aimed at reducing the United States’ over-reliance on China for its critical mineral needs by strengthening provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which had previously given a boost to critical mineral mining and processing.

    Operating under the premise that “the U.S. cannot afford to allow the critical minerals used by the Department of Defense (DoD) to be mined or processed in adversarial countries, and it must urgently invest and build its capabilities to achieve critical mineral independence in coordination with allies,” the bill would:

    • “[d]irect the expansion of critical mineral mining and processing in the U.S. and allied countries to achieve critical mineral supply chain independence for the Department of Defense by 2027;
    • [r]equire the director of the Defense Logistics Agency to develop a strategy to expedite critical mineral mining and processing, and then requires the implementation of that strategy;
    • [and a]uthorize the use of the underlying $1 billion in the NDAA to execute the procurement strategy.”

    In a statement on the introduction of the bill, Sen. Sullivan highlighted the United States’ vast domestic mineral potential, much of which could be unleashed in the Senators home state of Alaska. He says:

    “We cannot continue to be dependent on China for critical minerals—resources that are crucial to our economy, and which we have in abundance in the U.S., particularly in Alaska like the significant copper and zinc resources in the Ambler Mining District that the Biden administration—remarkably—continues to delay.”  

    [To keep up with Alaska’s critical mineral potential and current developments, be sure to follow North of 60 Mining News’s Shane Lasley, whose work ARPN has featured on many occasions.]

    Sen. Sullivan adds:

    “If we are going to build out and support our domestic clean energy industries and national security initiatives, we need to get serious about a strategy for unleashing America’s national supply chains and processing capabilities. In doing so, we will create thousands of good-paying jobs, protect our national security interests, deny economic support for violators of basic human rights and build out America’s all-of-the-above energy sector.” 

    With the mid-term elections now in the rear view mirror and policy makers increasingly realizing the urgency of securing critical mineral resource supply chains to bolster our nation’s national security and economic wellbeing, momentum for mineral resource policy reform is building.  ARPN will track the “Critical Mineral Independence Act of 2022” along with other legislative efforts in the coming months.

  • As Stakes Mount, U.S. Senators Lament Agencies’ Failure to Meet Timelines for Permitting Report Required by Federal Law

    While there has been a flurry of activity at the federal level to strengthen U.S. critical mineral supply chains against the backdrop of mounting global and domestic pressures, some of the early proponents of mineral resource policy reform on Capitol Hill are questioning the Biden Administration’s commitment to improving the federal mine permitting process “to help meet growing supply constraints and improve U.S. competitiveness in strategic mineral production.”

    In a letter to the Departments of the Interior (DOI) and Agriculture (USDA), Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan were joined by Idaho Senators James E. Risch and Mike Crapo, as well as North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer, in calling out the agencies for their failure to meet a statutory deadline to produce a report outlining options to improve the federal mineral permitting process within a year of enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law on November 15, 2021.

    Specifically, the Senators point to Section 40206 of the Act, laying out nine specific ways to improve permitting and state that “the nine improvement priorities and the report are the basis of a new performance metric […] to meet the permitting and review process improvements it requires and will serve as the basis of new annual reporting to Congress to accompany the President’s budget.”

    They lament that “DOI and USDA have outwardly paid little attention to [these serious and substantial requirements that represent a first step to address serious deficiencies in the federal permitting process] and internally appear to have devoted critical resources to discretionary projects that trace back to Executive Orders, rather than legally binding federal statutes,” and ask several specific questions.

    See the full letter here.

    The Senators’ letter touches on an important issue.  As ARPN previously outlined:

    “While it is certainly encouraging that these developments are not only underway but are also increasingly making headlines and garnering the attention of the American people, it is important to ensure that legislative efforts to strengthen our nation’s critical mineral supply chains are not only enacted, but actually implemented, and that timelines set forth in enacted legislation are in fact met.” 

    Earlier in May, 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, raised similar concerns in a series of joint letters to key members of the Biden Administration.

    Federal mine permitting reform is an importance piece of the “all-of-the-above” puzzle.  With geopolitical stakes continuing to mount and the midterm elections slowly fading into the background, here’s hoping that U.S. stakeholders are ready to not only talk the talk on strengthening U.S. critical mineral supply chains, but also walk the walk.

  • National Clean Energy Week Underscores Importance of Critical Mineral Supply Chains

    Underscoring the importance of the green energy transition to modern society, the U.S. Senate earlier this week passed a resolution, the U.S. House of Representatives  introduced a corresponding resolution, and several governors issued their own declarations designating September 26th through 30th “National Clean Energy Week.” National Clean Energy Week is billed as an annual week-long “celebration of clean energy innovation” to “help solve [...]
  • Congress “Net-Zeroes” in on Energy Security, Supply Chains for Critical Minerals – A Look at the Inflation Reduction Act

    As countries and corporations continue the global quest towards net zero carbon emissions, the U.S. Congress has passed what some consider landmark legislation to address climate change and bolster our nation’s economic and national security. The clean energy provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act negotiated by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) — [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • 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 [...]