American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • 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 from defence to the economy, and today (…) making headway in crafting a continental approach to fighting climate change and improving labour standards,”Jacobson argues that “the strong relationship between the two countries is even more important as we face a potential crisis on the horizon (…)  — North America’s lack of the supply chain necessary for the extraction and refining of ‘critical minerals.’”

    Former ambassadors are understandably diplomatic, but followers of ARPN will understand that we don’t see this crisis as “on the horizon” – but as a clear and present danger, to borrow a famous phrase.

    Ambassador Jacobson draws parallels to the 1970s oil embargo, which resulted in global market disruptions, and says that “if a minerals crisis occurred to similar effect as the oil crisis, every technology, job, business or sector that depends on a battery, a computer chip, or high-tech alloys would be at risk.”

    His bottom line:

    “The good news is a solution exists, right beneath our feet. There are deposits of cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite and many other critical minerals across North America, including in California, Nevada, Minnesota, Northern Ontario and Quebec. But we have not exercised the resolve to extract them or to develop the supply chain necessary to refine them here rather than ship raw materials overseas only to ship finished products back again.

    It’s not just about securing the supply. Canada and the U.S. stand to see a huge benefit from these increasingly valuable resources while keeping the economic growth and job opportunities at home not just in mining and refining but, more importantly, in making all the products that rely on these critical minerals.”

    It’s time to harness the special relationship between the two countries – which indeed is “more than metaphorical” as ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty phrased it in a 2018 piece for Investors Business Daily— as well as frameworks for allied cooperations such as the National Technology Industrial Base (NTIB), which, originally established to strengthen technology links between the U.S. and Canada in 1993, was expanded in 2016 to include the United Kingdom and Australia.

    Jacobson is right when he says: “We are in a race against time, and we cannot always count on the competition to play fair. Americans and Canadians have historically pulled together for the good of both nations in times of challenge. Such times are coming. Let’s once again plan for, face and beat this new challenge by together establishing our place in the global supply chain.”

    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.

  • 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.

  • Wind Turbine Makers’ Price Challenges Sign of Looming Raw Material Shortfalls

    As lawmakers on Capitol Hill are scrambling to finalize major federal spending legislation set to include several key provisions relating to natural resources, a recent Wall Street Journal piece on wind power underscores the urgency of our nation’s looming raw material shortfalls. Against the backdrop of surging demand in the context of the green energy transition, wind [...]
  • Industry Experts Lament Inclusion of Hardrock Mining Royalties and Fees in Reconciliation Spending Package

    Against the backdrop of the accelerating battery arms race, and a recent growing realization that our nation has become over-reliant on critical mineral imports from adversary nations, the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources committee has added language to the proposed $3.5 trillion reconciliation spending package last week that could throw a serious wrench into [...]
  • New Publication Alert – Metal Tech News Releases Comprehensive Primer on Critical Minerals

    Shane Lasley has done it again.  Known to followers of ARPN for his stellar reporting on critical mineral resource issues from an Alaskan perspective, his Metal Tech News project has published what may just be the most comprehensive North American primer on critical minerals: Critical Minerals Alliances is a magazine covering more than twenty metals and minerals critical to North American [...]
  • Closing the Loop “Contributor” to Solving our Critical Mineral Resource Woes, “Not a Solution”

    As the global battery arms race continues to heat up amidst surging demand for EV battery technology and energy storage systems, a recent Financial Times piece explores the themes of urban mining and closed-loop solutions to increase critical mineral resource supply. The piece outlines a significant challenge with regards to today’s critical mineral resource supply [...]
  • Summer Critical Mineral Import Data Provides Fresh Impetus for Comprehensive Resource Policy Reform

    In the wake of several eye-openers regarding our nation’s critical mineral supply chain woes — the coronavirus pandemic, increasing trade tensions with adversary nations like China, and reports underscoring the mineral intensity of our green energy future — the bipartisan infrastructure package passed by the U.S. Senate before the August recess contained a series of [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • “Undoubtedly Good News for Industrial Metals” – a Look at the Senate-passed Infrastructure Package

    In a recent piece for Reuters, columnist Andy Home unpacks the U.S. Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure package.   While the bill has yet to make it through the U.S. House of Representatives and a likely conference committee, it is worth taking a look at what its passage could mean for the critical minerals sector. According to Home, the [...]
  • Make Haste Slowly – The Inherent Risks of an Electrification of the U.S. Military: Material Inputs, Geopolitics and Cyberattacks

    As governments around the globe continue to push towards carbon neutrality, Alan Howard and Brenda Shaffer, faculty members at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, warn against the hidden dangers of the — rushed — electrification of the U.S. military in a new piece for Foreign Policy. Against the backdrop of the Pentagon having commissioned studies [...]