American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Foreign Manufacturers Still Flock to China

    Japanese electronics maker Panasonic has built a new consumer Lithium-ion factory in Suzhou, China. While the plant is located on the premises already owned by Panasonic, the new facility is a manifestation of an ongoing trend of foreign manufacturers moving their production sites into China in order to mitigate reduced access to and increased costs for critical minerals. Interestingly, the move comes at a time when the Japanese government pursues policies aimed at reducing its dependence on Chinese mineral imports.

    Rising wages in China, and with that increased production costs, may be slowing the trend of manufacturers flocking to China to a degree, however the lure of metals and minerals cannot be dismissed. As American Resources principal Dan McGroarty phrased it in a piece for Real Clear World last October:

    The magnet drawing American automakers to China these days isn’t metaphorical: It is quite literally the Rare Earths magnets and other metals-based components critical to batteries and parts necessary for mass electric vehicle production. Just as we have seen with solar panel and wind turbine producers, China has the metals – and where the metals are, manufacturing will follow.

    Unlike with Rare Earths, China may not have the near-total supply monopoly for Lithium. It is, however, one of the top-three suppliers for U.S. manufacturers, who, according to USGS data, are more than 80 percent dependent on foreign-sourced Lithium. Meanwhile, domestic Lithium reserves, while not necessarily abundant, are available. With Lithium usage on the rise, it is entirely possible that the mineral, which is currently only featured on the American Resources “Watch List” may make our “Risk Pyramid” of critical metals and minerals in future years.

    With China ready to play politics with its mineral supplier status, the time to focus on exploring and developing our domestic mineral resources is now.

  • Japan, Kazakhstan to ‘jointly develop rare earths’

    Back in March, the U.S., Europe and Japan issued a WTO complaint against China’s mineral export policies. The complaint raised awareness of global resource needs, but accomplished little else. Rather than waiting for further action, as the U.S. seems content to do, Japan has taken matters into its own hands. The Japanese have partnered with Kazakhstan to develop the rare earths they were previously getting from China.

    Japan’s proactive attitude towards mineral policy is exactly what the U.S. lacks. America needs to develop a comprehensive mineral strategy and sever dependence on foreign suppliers before it’s too late.

  • Critical metals take center stage in border dispute: The Kuril Islands and Rhenium

    According to a recent article in the Russian daily Pravda, Russia finds itself locked in a territorial dispute that is becoming increasingly acute. The conflict over the group of four islands, which Russia calls the “Southern Kurils” and Japan calls the “Northern Territories, is the reason why Japan and Russia never signed a peace treaty [...]
  • Japan’s rare earth recycling strategy

    While the United States pours money into foreign mineral imports, other countries are recognizing the value of self-sufficiency: Japan has drafted a bill requiring consumers to recycle used electronics containing rare earth and critical metals. The federally-sponsored move illustrates the priority Japanese officials are giving to mineral policy, a focus that contrasts sharply with the [...]
  • Japan and India agree on joint development of rare earths

    As China continues its geopolitical rare earths power play, Japan and India are the latest countries to partner in an attempt to offset China’s near total supply monopoly.  According to the Asia News Network, the foreign ministers of the two countries agreed in late October to promote the joint development of the critical minerals at [...]
  • China again tightens REE exports; Japan seeks to diversify supply base.

    Worried about China’s ongoing rare earths stranglehold and further cutbacks of exports, Japan looks to diversify its rare earths supply basis. While a delegation of Japanese business leaders recently urged China to ensure a stable supply to Japan, the Japanese government is stepping up its efforts to find alternative sources for the sought-after commodity. In [...]
  • Mongolia Weighs its Resource Options

    History is typically difficult to see up close, but it’s possible that resources are sparking a great geo-political reordering on par with the mass discoveries of oil that made the Middle East a rising economic power the mid-20th Century.  Witness the country of Mongolia, a geo-political pawn for much of the last hundred years, but [...]
  • China’s Rare Earths attract Japanese Manufacturer

    In this story hitting the East Asia news wires, Showa Denko, a leading Japanese metals fabricator, announced it will be moving its Rare Earths manufacturing facility to China. This is an alarm bell for anyone who believes the U.S. must stake a leadership claim in the green-tech sector. Coupled with decreased Chinese exports, access to [...]
  • Day 1: Metals for Energy & Environment Conference

    Our expert, Dan McGroarty is on-hand at the Metals for Energy and Environment conference in Las Vegas. While there, he’s been live-tweeting some of the action. Check out those updates here. And below, he provides a thorough re-cap of “Day 1″ on the front lines: Day one included a full slate of informative presentations, but [...]