American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • 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 Medicines From China Is Risky. Critical Minerals, Too
    by Daniel McGroarty
    RealClearPolitics, March 17, 2020

    The rapid spread of the coronavirus is doing more than claim an alarming number of new human hosts – it is burning through decades of bureaucratic inertia and plain inattention as the American economic ecosystem has become dangerously dependent on China.

    Take the current focus on critical medicines needed to combat COVID-19, everything from basic drugs to treat the virus to N95 surgical masks to guard against its spread. We’re learning that these essentials come from China, ground zero for the virus itself. At the White House and on Capitol Hill – at least those corners of the Congress that have not gone into self-quarantine – efforts are now underway to jump-start U.S. production and end this dangerous dependence.

    It’s an urgent issue demanding immediate attention. But while Congress and the president are at it, they may want to broaden their focus from critical medicines to critical minerals.

    Just as critical medicines from China are integrated across the U.S. health care spectrum, so too are critical minerals imbedded into all aspects of the U.S. supply chains for energy, high-tech manufacturing – and most worryingly, national defense. Everything, in short, that makes 21st century America the economic and military power that it is.

    In terms of critical minerals vulnerability, the main focus is on rare earths, a group of 17 elements on the periodic table that are essential to everything from laptops and LEDs, electric vehicle drive trains and wind turbines to smartphones and smart bombs. But the potential exposure of the U.S. is far wider than just the rare earths. Is the U.S. interested in developing new fleets of electric vehicles – not to mention all manner of aerospace applications from miniaturized drones to private-sector space vehicles? We’ll need graphite and manganese, two materials for which the U.S. is presently 100% import-dependent. The world’s leading producer in both cases? China. Do we want to see the U.S. develop next-generation high-speed computer chips? We’ll need gallium and arsenic, two more 100%-dependent materials. The world’s leading producer? Once again – China.

    As for national security, 16 of the 35 materials on the U.S. Government Critical Minerals Mist appear in a non-classified defense study as “hav[ing] already caused some kind of significant weapon system production delay for DoD.” For 22 of the 35 listed minerals, China is either the leading global producer, leading U.S. supplier – or both.

    It would be one thing if the U.S. had no geological presence of these metals and minerals, and was consigned to be an importer from supplier nations. But the U.S. is resource rich, geologically blessed with known resources of at least 32 of the 35 critical minerals, with deposits of heavy rare earths in Texas, graphite in Alaska, manganese in Arizona – not to mention innovative methods to recycle and recover critical minerals from spent EV batteries, rhenium for jet fighter engines from copper waste in Utah, and all manner of critical minerals from coal waste in Pennsylvania that’s never been considered as a potential supply source.

    As these examples suggest, American innovation is ready to “work the problem” of critical minerals supply. What remains is for American political leadership to make U.S. production a priority, and align public policy with a pressing national need. With the coronavirus reaching pandemic proportions, America’s political leaders are right to focus on the dangers of reliance on a Chinese supply chain for critical medicines. But the danger is no less real when it comes to reliance on Chinese supply of the critical minerals that power our 21st century tech economy – along with every advanced weapons platform in the American arsenal.

  • To Reduce Supply Chain Vulnerabilities, U.S. Should Tap Domestic Mineral Resources More

    Over the past few weeks, the spread of the coronavirus has begun to expose the supply chain challenges associated with an over-reliance on foreign raw materials, the effects of which will be felt across broad segments of manufacturing.

    In a new piece for PennLive Patriot-News, Michael Stumo, CEO of the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), takes a look at the United States’ Rare Earths supply chain — for which followers of ARPN will know that China is the elephant in the room — and calls for the United States to “start matching China’s industrial strategy” which means “tapping our domestic mineral resources.”

    Zeroing in on the issue from the renewable energy angle, Stumo points out that the coming surge in demand for the metals and minerals underpinning green energy technology  — electric cars, wind turbines, solar panels etc. — will be staggering, citing one estimate suggesting “that the stock of available minerals required for electric vehicles will need to increase by 87,000 percent [and t]he resources for solar panels will need to rise 1,000 percent; wind turbines, 3,000 percent.”

    Stumo argues that with China’s dominance in the mineral resource sector being strategic and allowing the regime in Beijing to levy power over global industries “Washington must stop turning a blind eye to such mercenary behavior, particularly when it includes forced labor camps, a disregard for environmental standards, and efforts to degrade U.S. industry.”

    Fortunately, even before the outbreak and ongoing spread of Covid-19 placing a magnifying glass over our resource dependencies, and against the backdrop of the nascent tech war between China and the United States U.S. stakeholders were beginning to take steps to reduce supply chain vulnerabilities, particularly for Rare Earths. 

    In July of last year, the Trump Administration invoked Title III of the 69-year old Defense Production Act to spur domestic REE development. The President issued five Presidential Determinations (PDs) permitting the use of Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III authorities to strengthen the domestic industrial base and supply chain for light and heavy REEs, rare earth metals and alloys, neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) rare earth permanent magnets, and samarium cobalt (SmCo) rare earth permanent magnets.

    Other initiatives have made it into Title II of the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA) (S. 2657) a package consisting of several pieces of legislation currently pending in the U.S. Senate.

    With regards to Rare Earths specifically, Title II calls for the enactment of a program to “develop advanced separation technologies for the extraction and recovery of rare earth elements (REEs) and minerals from coal and coal byproducts,” and respective reporting to Congress. 

    Unlike some of our trading partners, we are in the fortunate position to be home to “vast, untapped geologic deposits worth an estimated $6.2 trillion.”  While we will not be able to meet all our mineral resource needs by solely relying on domestic resource development and processing, and will have to rely on trading with allies.  However, we can significantly reduce our vulnerabilities by maximizing our domestic resource potential and choosing allies over adversaries when it comes to sourcing from other nations. 

    As Stumo concludes:

    “Mining will remain essential for producing the next generation of advanced industries. Doing it here at home will protect the global environment while supporting good jobs in many domestic industries.”

  • Coronavirus Underscores Perils of Resource Dependence – A Look at Rare Earths

    While many first think of the human dimension and health implications of the recent outbreak and ongoing spread of the coronavirus — and quite rightly, given the potentially  fatal consequences — the crisis with pandemic potential has ramifications that reach far beyond the health sector. In a new piece for Tech Metal News, Shane Lasley takes a [...]
  • U.S.-Canadian Critical Minerals Collaboration Moves Into Next Round

    It’s official. On January 9, 2020, the governments of the United States and Canada formally announced the finalization of the Canada-U.S. Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration to advance “our mutual interest in securing supply chains for the critical minerals needed for important manufacturing sectors, including communication technology, aerospace and defence, and clean technology.” [...]
  • Tomorrow, Tuesday, Dec. 10 – U.S. House Committee to Hold Hearing on “Research and Innovation to Address the Critical Materials Challenge”

    On Tuesday, December 10 — close to the two-year anniversary of the White House’s executive order “to develop a federal strategy to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals” the House Science, Space and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on “Research and Innovation to Address the Critical Materials Challenge.” The hearing comes against the backdrop of increased [...]
  • India and the Tech Wars: Ripple Effects of the Confrontation over Who Will Dominate the 21st Century Tech Age

    While most of the headlines regarding the trade war between the United States and China — and, for ARPN followers, the underlying tech war over who which country will dominate the 21st Century Technology Age — focus on the main players in Washington, DC and Beijing, the ripple effects of this confrontation can be felt [...]
  • Canada and U.S. to Draft “Joint Action Plan” on Rare Earths / Critical Minerals

    After years of missed opportunities to prioritize mineral resource policy, the U.S. government is stepping up its efforts to secure critical mineral resource supply chains.   The latest case in point is the drafting of a “joint action plan” with our neighbors to the North to reduce reliance on Chinese supplies of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) — which, [...]
  • U.S. and Australia to Roll Out “Mutually Beneficial” Action Plan to Improve Security and Supply of Rare Earths

    Building on recent agency-level talks the United States and Australia have used the occasion of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s week long state visit to the United States to formally announce the forthcoming roll out of an “action plan” to counter Chinese dominance in the critical minerals sector, and specifically the Rare Earths sector. According to news [...]
  • As Tech War Deepens Over REEs, Australia Steps Up to the Plate

    As the trade war between China and the United States deepens, concern over access to Rare Earths and other critical minerals is spreading all over the world.  While the U.S. is taking steps aimed at increasing domestic REE supplies — most recently manifesting in the Trump Administration’s invocation of the 69-year-old Defense Production Act and [...]
  • ARPN Expert Panel Member on Strategic Metals Supply Chain in an Era of De-Globalization

    The trade war between China and the U.S., tensions between Russia and the West, the green energy transition — today’s political, geopolitical and economic pressures have significant implications for resource development. In a new piece on his blog, ARPN expert panel member and president of President of House Mountain Partners, LLC Chris Berry discusses “[t]he Strategic [...]