American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Lawmakers Introduce New Legislation Aimed at Changing United States’ “Bystander” Status in Race for Critical Minerals

    As pressures mount for the United States to bolster its position as a non-fuel mineral raw materials producer amidst the ongoing battery tech revolution, a group of U.S. Senators have introduced legislation to boost domestic production of critical minerals.

    The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, would “codify the methodology used in a 2017 executive order that was signed by President Donald Trump ‘to designate a list of critical minerals and require that list to be updated at least every three years.’ The measure also would require a nationwide resource assessments for every critical mineral and the implementation of ‘several practical, common sense permitting reforms for the Department of the Interior (DOI) and Department of Agriculture Forest Service to reduce delays in the federal process.’”

    The bill was dropped on May 2nd, the same day government officials met with representatives of carmakers, mining companies and consultants to discuss the need to streamline U.S. mineral resource policy against a growing sense that the United States is becoming a “bystander” in the current battery arms race.

    The American Mineral Security Act, similar versions of which Sen. Murkowski had introduced in previous Congresses, would:

  • Codify the methodology used in Executive Order 13817 to designate a list of critical minerals and require that list to be updated at least every three years
  • Require nationwide resource assessments for every critical mineral;
  • Implement several practical, common sense permitting reforms for the Department of the Interior (DOI) and Department of Agriculture Forest Service to reduce delays in the federal process;
  • Reauthorize the National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program for 10 years;
  • Authorize research and development for recycling and replacements for critical minerals, as well as chemistry, material science, and applied research and development for processing of critical minerals;
  • Require coordination and study of energy needs for remote mining deposits with microgrid research and small generation research programs across the Department of Energy’s applied offices; and
  • Require the Secretary of Labor, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Science Foundation to conduct a study of the nation’s minerals workforce. 
  • Says Sen. Murkowski:

    “Our reliance on China and other nations for critical minerals costs us jobs, weakens our economic competitiveness, and leaves us at a geopolitical disadvantage. Our bill takes steps that are long overdue to reverse our damaging foreign dependence and position ourselves to compete in growth industries like electric vehicles and energy storage.”

    ARPN will keep tabs on this and other relevant bills as they move through Congress, so stay tuned for updates.

  • U.S. Should Revisit R&D Spending Priorities, But Reform Cannot Occur in Vacuum 

    Followers of ARPN have long known that China is the big elephant in the room. 

    In a piece for the Wall Street Journal, Ezekiel Emanuel, Amy Gadsden and Scott Moore lament that while there is a growing  awareness that China may be the – in the words of Sec. of State Mike Pompeo “greatest challenge that the United States will face in the medium to long term” – the United States has largely responded with “defensive measures” like tariffs.

    “[T]he challenge can’t be answered just by demanding that China plays fair,” they argue.

    Their advice: 

    “The U.S. needs to meet strength with strength, and the best way to do that is to renew a longstanding American advantage: innovation. To compete and win in the century ahead, the U.S. urgently needs to fix the mismatch between its declared national technology priorities and the deployment of our research funding.”

    Emanuel, Gadsden and Moore point to an erosion of America’s lead in science and technology fields stemming from “steadily declining U.S budgets for basic scientific research and a lopsided emphasis on the life sciences to the detriment of emerging technologies.”

    Against the backdrop of misguided U.S. government spending priorities, China has made massive investments in science, technology and engineering research and development – to the tune of $410 billion in 2016, which, according to the authors of the piece, is more than that of Japan, Germany and South Korea combined. 

    And while private investment in R&D has increased, Emanuel, Gadsden and Moore argue it’s “not nearly enough.”

    Indeed, targeted investments in R&D can yield great results — as some of the recent examples of public-private partnerships featured as part of our “Profiles of Progress” series have shown.

    However, increased spending can and should not occur in a vacuum, but should rather be part of a comprehensive policy overhaul.   The mineral resource sector serves as a case in point: Here, decades of misguided government policies —  from the duplicative and lengthy permitting process for mining projects adding cost and uncertainty, to land access policies — have been discouraging private investment. This, as ARPN followers know all too well, has left the United States increasingly reliant on foreign mineral resources.  

    As U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski recently argued in a Congressional hearing:

    “In contrast to the energy sector, our nation is headed in the wrong direction on mineral imports. This is our Achilles’ heel that serves to empower and enrich other nations, while costing us jobs and international competitiveness.” 

    Emanuel, Gadsden, and Moore are right when they argue “America needs to do what it does best: compete,”  but revisiting spending priorities is only a part of the puzzle.

    What we need is a comprehensive policy overhaul of the U.S.’s resource development policy.

    However, 16 months after the President issued his Executive Order on Critical Minerals (which has arguably led to some positive first steps towards mineral resource policy reform) we are still awaiting the release of a report by the Department of Commerce outlining a “broader strategy” and recommending specific policy steps to implement it.

    Meanwhile, China presses on — both on R&D and securing access to critical minerals. 

  • Paging the Department of Commerce – Australia Releases “Critical Minerals Strategy 2019”

    Last week, the Australian Federal Government released its “Critical Minerals Strategy 2019” – a blueprint aimed at positioning “Australia as a leading global supplier of the minerals that will underpin the industries of the future” – which according to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Sciences’s press release, includes the agritech, aerospace, defence, renewable energy and telecommunications industries. [...]
  • 2018 – A Year of Incremental Progress?

    In case you hadn’t noticed amidst holiday preparations, travel arrangements and the usual chaos of everyday life – 2019 is just around the corner, and with that, the time to reflect on the past twelve months has arrived. So here is ARPN’s recap of 2018: Where we began. Unlike previous years, we started 2018 with [...]
  • Mark Your Calendars for AEMA’s 124th Annual Meeting Dec. 2-7

    We blinked – and the holidays are upon us already. It’s a busy time of the year for everyone, but if you’re still looking for a worthwhile event to put on your calendar this December look no further: Our friends at the American Exploration and Mining Association (AEMA) will be holding their 124th Annual Meeting from [...]
  • ARPN Expert: To Counter China’s Mineral Resource Dominance, U.S. Apathy About Critical Minerals Must End  

    Followers of ARPN know that China is the big elephant in the room when it comes to the United States’ critical mineral resource supply issues.  As ARPN expert panel member Ned Mamula, an adjunct scholar in geosciences at the Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute, and “Rare Mettle” author Ann Bridges write in [...]
  • Soon To-Be-Released Defense Industrial Base Study May “Revolutionize Approach to Supply-Chain Security and  Strategic Materials”

    A good year ago, a presidential Executive Order (E.O. 13806) mandated the completion of a study to assess the “Manufacturing Capacity, Defense Industrial Base, and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States.” According to a well-informed administration source, this defense industrial base study is now nearing completion, reports Breaking Defense. However, as Sydney J. Friedberg [...]
  • McGroarty for IBD: “Time to Make the Connection Between Critical Minerals and National Defense”

    “For want of a nail … the kingdom was lost” Invoking the old proverb dating back to the 13th Century as a cautionary tale and reminder that “the most sophisticated defense supply chain is only as strong as our weakest link,” ARPN’s Dan McGroarty argues in a new piece for Investor’s Business Daily that the [...]
  • Mamula & Moore: Current Federal Policy Efforts Opportunity for “Huge Turnaround for Reducing Dangerous Mineral Imports Through Responsible Mining”

    In a new piece for National Review, geoscientist Ned Mamula, who is an adjunct scholar at the Center for the study of Science at the Cato Institute and a member of the ARPN panel of experts and Heritage Foundation senior fellow Stephen Moore offer up their take on the current – and long overdue – [...]
  • ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty Submits Public Comments on DoI Critical Minerals List

    Presidential Executive Order (EO) 13817 on a Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals, was issued on December 20, 2017. Pursuant to the EO, the Department of Interior, in coordination with the Department of Defense, was tasked with compiling a list of Critical Minerals within 60 days. The DOI List was [...]
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