American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Panelists at Virtual Forum Agree on Need for Holistic “All of The Above” Approach to Critical Mineral Resource Policy

    During a virtual congressional policy forum on critical minerals hosted by House Committee on Natural Resources Republicans earlier this week, experts agreed that the United States must adopt a holistic “all of the above” approach to critical mineral resource policy.

    Panelists at the event, which can be re-watched in its entirety here, included:

    Daniel McGroarty, principal, Carmot Strategic Group, Inc and principal, American Resources Policy Network
    Laurel Sayer
    , president and CEO, Perpetua Resources
    Reed Blakemore
    , deputy director, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council
    Dr. Michael Moats
    , professor of metallurgical engineering and director of the O’Keefe Institute, Missouri University of Science and Technology
    Abigail Wulf
    , director, Center for Critical Minerals Strategy, Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE)
    Tim Gould
    , head of division, Energy Supply Outlooks and Investment, International Energy Agency (IEA)
    Dr. Ian Lange
    , director, Mineral and Energy Economics Program, Colorado School of Mines

    ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty told members that said “all of the above” approach should be applied not only to resource development, but also to Congressional policy, which currently is not maximizing policy tools already on the books. He also suggested that to secure domestic critical mineral supply chains, stakeholders should not only look to bolster domestic production, but also processing, turning “smelters into critical minerals hubs” and “treating them as the assets they are.”

    There was a broad consensus among panelists that recycling, while important, would not obviate the need for domestic resource production in light of growing need for critical minerals. In fact, pointing to a brand new study released by the agency on the material inputs needed for a carbon neutral future, the IEA’s Tim Gould argued that recycling could only account for about 10% of the required mineral resources to underpin the transition to zero carbon.

    Pointing to the growing threat of China controlling critical mineral resources, SAFE’s Abigail Wulf argued that the 2020s will be a “critical decade that will challenge the United States’ ability to consistently and effectively project its political, military, and economic strength.”

    She continued:

    “During this time, the production of batteries, electric vehicles (EVs), semiconductors, and other advanced technologies will take on increased geopolitical importance in the face of a rising China. The nation that prevails in this struggle to control the manufacturing and distribution of these key industries will lead the global transition to a new energy future and the next industrial revolution. The United States cannot afford to lag behind China, risking our position of global economic leadership, leaving us vulnerable to supply disruptions and dependent on nations that do not share our values.”

    Speakers highlighted the importance — and opportunity — of co-product development, and agreed that removing uncertainty in the mining sector was warranted.

    Better education on what Dr. Michael Moats of the Missouri University of Science and Technology called a “societal lack of recognition of the importance of where things come from,” or the “dangerous disconnect,” between using manufactured goods and understanding what goes into making the product, would further be key ways to address the critical minerals crisis. After all, it’s not magic, or fairy dust that makes our 21st century hi-tech world go round.

    As McGroarty closed his remarks:

    “Critical minerals aren’t critical because of where they come from – they’re critical because of where they take us. American ingenuity, innovation and investment can do a lot – but the power of the private sector can do far more if public policy sends a strong signal that critical minerals matter – to the technology revolution transforming our world and to America’s place as the leader in that transformation.”

    Access Daniel McGroarty’s full remarks as submitted here.

    Click here to re-watch the entire forum.

  • As Troop Withdrawals Make Headlines, U.S. Trailing in War Most Americans Are Not Even Aware Of: The Tech War With China

    According to news reports, the Pentagon earlier this month confirmed a further withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Meanwhile, as National Defense Magazine editor-in-chief Stew Magnuson writes in a new piece for the publication, the U.S. is engaged in a war most Americans were not even aware of — the “Tech War” with China. And, in case you are wondering, it’s not been going so well.

    Zeroing in on Chinese President Xi Jinpin’s recent assertion United Nations General Assembly that his nation had “no intention to fight either a Cold War or a hot one with any country,” Magnuson writes:

    “That may be. But what is really happening is a ‘technology war.’ There is little awareness among the American public about this undeclared war, but it’s well understood in Beijing. (…) The U.S. record in this rivalry stands at 0-1, or possibly 0-2. The United States lost a major battle that it didn’t even realize it was fighting when China over the past decades established monopolies on several critical rare earth elements and a few other strategic minerals (…).”

    If the term “Tech War” rings a bell, it may be because it’s been a recurring theme on our blog for the past few months, ever since ARPN Principal Daniel McGroarty argued that the “specter of using rare earths as an economic weapon makes clear that the current trade war between the U.S. and China is in fact one front in a larger tech war – a competition to see which country will dominate the 21st Century Technology Age” in a piece for The Economic Standard.

    Magnuson believes that the failure to build out a domestic Rare Earths industry will prove to be a “major strategic defeat as these elements are the building blocks for many of this century’s emerging technologies,” — but it does not end there.

    The Tech War, as Magnuson describes it, has a number of battlefronts, ranging from the control over Rare Earths (or, more generally speaking, critical mineral resources) over aviation, space technology, biotech, quantum sciences, robotics, and military technology to artificial intelligence. Already down 0:1 over Rare Earths, he argues that the U.S. runs the risk of going 0:2 when factoring in the battle for 5G dominance, an area where, according to several recent think tank reports, the U.S. is allowing “China to eat its lunch.”

    The fact that, even with partisan tensions flaring in Washington, DC in the months leading up to the election, China’s 5G rollout, is “one of the few afflictions that affect both U.S. political parties,” as ARPN’s McGroarty has argued in an earlier piece on the U.S. decision to ban Huawei’s 5G network, indicates that Magnuson is on to something.

    Magnuson seems to believe that not all is lost, however. He writes:

    “5G and rare earth processing are just two battles in a longer war, and ground that was lost during battles can be seized back. The United States — if it had the will to compete — for example, could end China’s rare earth and strategic minerals monopolies. The United States could end up 2-0, but victory is not assured.”

    This, however, would require more than mere lip service on the part of our elected officials. Months ago, before the pandemic hit and the presidential elections overshadowed all policy, there were indications that a bipartisan consensus was emerging regarding the need to address our over-reliance on Chinese critical materials, and to counter China’s 5G rollout.

    The recent launch of the bipartisan Critical Materials Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives has us hoping for positive impulses, at least on the critical minerals front, going into 2021.

    Here’s hoping that once the fog of the presidential elections has lifted, policy makers have the bandwidth (pun intended) to sufficiently devote their attention to the Tech War with China, which, as Magnuson has argued “may one day describe the age we are living in as ‘the Cold War’ did after World War II.”

  • New Critical Minerals Executive Order Declares National Emergency, Invokes Defense Production Act

    In perhaps the strongest acknowledgment of the urgency of our critical mineral resource woes and over-reliance on foreign (and especially Chinese) supplies to date, U.S. President Donald Trump this week triggered rarely-used emergency government powers to address the issue. On his way to a campaign rally in Minnesota, the president on Wednesday signed an Executive [...]
  • Beyond the Rhetoric Lies the Hard Reality of Materials Supply — ARPN’s McGroarty on U.S. Ban of Huawei’s 5G in the Context of Resource Policy

    In a new piece for The Economic Standard, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty discusses critical mineral resource challenges associated with “the great U.S.-China decoupling.”  He does so against the backdrop of the U.S. decision to ban Huawei’s 5G network and imposition of travel sanctions on Huawei employees — a move McGroarty says may well be called the “first battle of [...]
  • Independence Day 2020 – Critical Mineral Resource Policy in a Watershed Year

    It’s that time of the year again – Independence Day is upon us.  This year, things are different, though. If you’re like us, it kind of snuck up on you, and it took seeing the booths selling fireworks in the parking lots to realize it’s July already.  After all, we just came off the longest month of [...]
  • ARPN’s McGroarty: “First Word in Supply Chain is ‘Supply’”

    Re-shoring is the word of the hour.  If the current coronavirus pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that we will need to rethink where we source and produce in the aftermath of COVID — an issue ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty zeroes in on in a new piece for The Economic Standard. Citing the excitement over the [...]
  • College Seniors Develop Copper Phone Case – A “Smart Move” for Smartphones Amidst a Pandemic

    Courtesy of the current coronavirus pandemic, we wash our hands – perhaps more frequently and thoroughly than before, and contactless shopping is becoming the norm for many.  Disinfectant has become more than a household staple, and we find ourselves constantly sanitizing everything from light switches over door handles to groceries.   To borrow a quote [...]
  • Mining Sector Essential Part of Nation’s Critical Infrastructure Workforce

    As the U.S. grapples to flatten the curve of the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, large swaths of public life have come to a grinding halt. However, as North of 60 Mining News publisher Shane Lasley points out in a new piece for the publication, “it remains imperative for the nation to maintain the critical [...]
  • ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty for RealClearPolitics: “Time to Reduce Reliance on China for Medicine AND Critical Minerals”

    In a new piece for RealClear Politics, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty argues that while the current focus on ending the dangerous dependence on critical medicines needed to combat COVID-19 is more than warranted, Congress and the administration “may want to broaden their focus from critical medicines to critical minerals.” Read his full piece here: Getting Critical [...]
  • Are we Ready for the Tech Metals Age? Thoughts on Critical Minerals, Public Policy and the Private Sector

    Earlier this week, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty shared his views on the coming tech metal age and its policy implications at In the Zone 2019 – Critical Materials: Securing Indo-Pacific Technology Futures – a conference hosted in cooperation with the University of Western Australia to look at critical mineral resource issues through the prism of the [...]