American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
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  • Video: the BBC asks, “But Will They Dig?”

    In less than two minutes, this short, but informative, video clip on the BBC’s website does a great job of getting to the heart of the rare earths crunch that puts the U.S. at the mercy of China. Ending our dangerously high degree of resource dependency is possible, but it all boils down to the question the BBC asks in the final screenshot: “But will they dig?”
    If you have a few minutes to spare, be sure to watch this video, which is part of the BBC’s “The Power of Asia” series.
    Click on the video image below to watch.

  • 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 the suite that leaped out to me were a mid-day trio providing snapshots of critical metals policy in Japan, the European Union and the United States.  Jaakko Kooroshy of Chatham House walked delegates through the European situation, and David Diamond of U.S. Department of Energy worked masterfully through the U.S. landscape. (DoE remains the leading U.S. Government department in its efforts to deeply understand the critical materials crisis) The contrast in both cases with the presentation by Japan’s Yasushi Watanabe was striking.

    While the U.S. and EU compile lists, assemble data, and sift information, Japan’s government and industry are acting — entering joint-ventures, co-partnering, negotiating off-take agreements for future metals production in a range of countries.  Regarding the Rare Earths, Japan’s “end user” companies are already engaged in off-take agreements with Molycorp in the U.S. and with Australia’s Lynas.  Japanese automaker Toyota is even co-venturing in India, in Vietnam alongside Sojitz, while Sumitomo has joint-ventured with Kazakhstan.

    Having essentially no resources of its own to develop, Japan has moved immediately to its sole solution:  surety of supply and diversification to diminish dependence on China (recall last year’s de facto Rare Earths embargo, triggered by a territorial dispute over the East China Sea).  While the EU has some member countries with mining traditions and potential for some critical metals development, my own sense is that — aside from the EU’s DG Enterprise — “Europe” sees itself as having moved beyond mining; they’ll consume metals and minerals mined elsewhere but have no real appetite to source supply from within the EU itself, even when the opportunity is there.  That puts the U.S. somewhere in between:  we’re resource-rich compared to Japan and Europe, but we’re nowhere near Japan’s activist-mode in mobilizing government and industry to address potential critical metals disruptions.  Historically, in terms of responding to crises, the American paradigm is slow to awaken, yet rapid once roused to act.

    But we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Rhodia, Areva team up to develop REE and Uranium

    Rhodia Rare Earth Systems, one of only two rare earths producers in Europe, has entered into a cooperative agreement with French nuclear group Areva, according to AFP. The agreement between the two companies spells out a plan to jointly develop and exploit previously untapped deposits containing a mix of uranium and rare earths elements (REEs). [...]
  • Saudi Arabia expands resource strategy to include phosphate, bauxite

    According to Bloomberg, the Saudi Railway Organization has successfully tested a newly-built railway line connecting phosphate and bauxite mines in the North of Saudi Arabia, operated by Saudi Arabian Mining, with the Persian Gulf. A country well aware of the importance of natural resources as a wealth-driving factor – after all it is the world’s [...]
  • U.S. House subcommittee focuses on America’s resource dependency

    On Tuesday, May 24, 2011, I testified on behalf of American Resources Policy Network before the House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, which held a hearing on the issue of “domestic minerals supplies and demands in a time of foreign supply disruption.” (Read my testimony here and watch my remarks [...]
  • ARPN to testify on metals, minerals policy challenges before U.S. House Subcommittee

    Tuesday, May 24th at 9:00 a.m. EST, I will be testifying on behalf of ARPN before the House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, which is holding a hearing on the issue of “domestic minerals supplies and demands in a time of foreign supply disruption.” Download and read the release announcing [...]
  • Video: An academic perspective on rare earths

    The rare earth topic we have been covering on our blog is no longer a niche topic discussed solely by industry types and commodity traders. The latest issue of Technology Review India, published by MIT, also features the rare earth crisis and its implications.  While access to the full version of the article requires a [...]
  • China tightens rare earths export quotas

    Adding fuel to the fire of the rare-earth crisis we have been following on our blog, the Australian Associated Press reports that the Chinese government announced today its decision to further tighten rare earths export quotas, previously applied to “pure” rare earths only, to include iron alloys containing more than 10 percent of rare earths [...]
  • Russia to rethink prospecting policies in Africa?

    In yet another indication that a global race for resources is in full swing, this opinion piece carried by the Russian news agency Ria Novosti suggests that Russia, a generally resource-rich country, should rethink its long-held position that prospecting for minerals outside its own territory is not necessary.  According to the author, Africa, another area [...]
  • Dear Congress: Metals and minerals matter now

    It is easy to pity the U.S. policymaker, who has more than a few crises to cope with, but America can no longer afford to push aside the critical issue of metals and minerals.  Decisions made now — or inaction, which is a decision in itself — will shape our economic competitiveness and national security [...]