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  • Alaska Critical Minerals Conference: Stakeholders Welcome Progress Thus Far, Call for Federal Permitting Reform and More Predictability in the Mining Space

    Just as a new federal law – the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 – may send a much-needed investment signal to the underdeveloped critical mineral supply chains for EVs and other 21st  century technologies, many of which are rife with underinvestment, political risk and poor governance – lawmakers and policy experts gathered for a two-day two-day conference hosted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, in partnership with the Wilson Center and U.S. Arctic Research Commission earlier this week.

    Entitled “Alaska’s Minerals: A Strategic National Imperative,” the summit addressed ways in which Alaska’s vast critical mineral potential, which ARPN has frequently pointed to, could be harnessed to diversify America’s critical mineral supply chains.

    U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan kicked off the proceedings, arguing that Alaska has many of the metals and minerals deemed critical by the U.S. government, while stressing the need for federal permitting changes for Alaska to be able to supply the materials underpinning the sought-after green energy transition.   Said Sen. Murkowski:

    “We have the resources. We have resources other states clearly don’t have….  What we need is the ability to be able to access those resources in a way that allows us to be competitive.”

    Senator Sullivan looked back to an earlier Critical Minerals summit in Alaska in 2012 – Sullivan was at that time Alaska’s Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources – and cited our ARPN Risk Assessment, a sober reminder that while momentum is building in 2022, it has been a long journey bringing critical minerals into the public consciousness and public policy debate.

    Gov. Mike Dunleavy, keynoting the event on Tuesday, echoed this sentiment his remarks while highlighting specific projects in the state that could play a vital role in “securing our national security and economic growth by providing the critical minerals needed for the energy transition that we see is well underway.”

    While welcoming President Joe Biden’s invocation of the Defense Production Act to spur domestic development of the “battery criticals” – lithium, cobalt, graphite, nickel and manganese — the governor lamented the Administration’s lack of acknowledgement of Alaska as a potential source of critical minerals for securing U.S. supply chains, along with an earlier Administration decision to suspend a previously granted federal right-of-way for a prominent Alaskan mining project.

    Governor Dunleavy added:

    “This administration must speak with one voice. It wants critical minerals, or it doesn’t. It wants the lower energy prices, or it doesn’t.  It wants to create jobs in the U.S. or it doesn’t.  It wants to protect the environment or it doesn’t. It cares about human rights, or it doesn’t. (…) The disjointed federal permitting process doesn’t just hurt Alaskans (…), it hurts every industry, and every state. (…) 

    If we set ambitious goals for EVs or renewables without permitting the production of critical minerals here, those minerals will still be produced, they just won’t be produced in here in America or Alaska, they’ll be produced by child labor, potentially, they’ll be produced without environmental standards, potentially, they’ll be produced at the expense of the American worker, to the benefit, potentially, of our adversaries.”  

    Sen. Murkowski suggested that the federal government take steps to foster “predictability” in the mining sector to unleash the state’s mineral potential, arguing that “other countries” would “in place longer-term policies that allow them to focus on what it means to be sticking with a policy, and a view, and a vision towards dominance.”

    ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty, speaking on Monday, also offered his thoughts on the current critical minerals policy discourse.

    As a coda to the conference, on the same day the sessions wrapped up, the U.S. Geological Service announced that Alaska will receive more than $6.75 million in funding for geologic mapping, airborne geophysical surveying, and geochemical sampling in support of critical mineral resource studies in the state.

    Here’s hoping this is another signal that more positive change is on the way — because, as Senator Sullivan’s reference to our 2012 ARPN Risk Report made clear, while progress has been made, much more remains to be done, and the rest of the world will not wait for us.

    For a webcast of Day Two of the event, click here.  (We will update this post once Day One video coverage, which will include McGroarty’s remarks, becomes available as well.)

  • ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty to Discuss Critical Mineral Policy at Alaska Critical Minerals Conference

    Mere months after widespread lockdowns in China over coronavirus outbreaks, factories in Sichuan province are shutting down again – this time over an intense heatwave and drought across China’s south.  Meanwhile, Russia’s war on Ukraine shows no signs of slowing down, and tensions between the United States and China over Taiwan continue to flare.

    As the stakes for supply chain and mineral resource security continue to rise, ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty will discuss the strategic implications and opportunities to alleviate our over-reliance on supplies from adversary nations during a panel at a  two-day conference hosted by the University of Alaska, in partnership with the Wilson Center and US Arctic Research Commission, held August 22 – August 23.

    The two-day summit for policy makers, agency representatives and industry leadership entitled “Alaska’s Minerals: A Strategic National Imperative” will discuss on Alaska’s vast critical mineral potential, which ARPN has frequently pointed to, and will outline the steps needed to harness that potential.

    Monday’s panels will focus on “national needs for critical minerals, Alaska’s investment climate and an overview of Alaska’s critical minerals resources,” while Tuesday’s discussions will revolve around “current research in Alaska related to critical minerals and industry needs for development, including workforce and infrastructure.”

    ARPN’s McGroarty will share his thoughts with co-panelists from DOE, DoD and an American EV association. Alaska’s U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both of whom have been strong advocates on Capitol Hill of a comprehensive approach to mineral resource security for the United States, will speak, as will as Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, arguably America’s leading state executive on critical mineral development.

    To register for a free livestream provided by the Wilson Center in partnership with the University of Alaska, click here.

  • Sens. Manchin and Murkowski Call on Administration to Prioritize Initiatives to Maintain and Strengthen U.S. Leadership and Rebuild Productive Capacity in Key Sectors and Value Chains

    Against the backdrop of ever-increasing pressures on critical mineral supply chains, we are seeing a flurry of activity on the part of government stakeholders to shore up supply of the metals and minerals underpinning 21st Century. While it is certainly encouraging that these developments are not only underway but are also increasingly making headlines and garnering [...]
  • Take a Break from Election Scrolling – Watch Highlights from Webinar on Lithium Ion Battery, EV and Energy Storage Supply Chain Issues

    While it seems that for weeks, all eyes have been on the Presidential elections in the U.S., earlier in October, our friends of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence hosted its Washington DC Summit 2020, which brought together U.S. Government representatives and industry stakeholders to discuss materials challenges — specifically in the realm of lithium ion battery technology, [...]
  • Event Alert: Benchmark Webinar on Lithium Ion Battery, EV and Energy Storage Supply Chain Issues

    Against the backdrop of a new presidential executive order declaring a critical minerals “national emergency” for the United States, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence will host its “Washington DC Summit 2020 – Online” on Tuesday, October 20th, at 1p.m. EST. This year’s virtual summit will bring together U.S. Government representatives and industry stakeholders to discuss materials challenges [...]
  • Russia Pushes for Global Rare Earth Market Share as U.S. Struggles to Move Forward With Critical Minerals Initiatives

    Russia is certainly making headlines this week.  Quite obviously, much of the media attention is focused around President Vladimir Putin’s declaration that Russia has approved a vaccine for the coronavirus (after less than two months of testing) — but developments in the critical minerals realm also warrant attention: A top Russian government official has told [...]
  • Experts to U.S. Senators: It’s “Not Too Late for the U.S.” to Secure Mineral Supply Chains Post-COVID, “But Action is Needed Now”

    In a timely hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, witnesses discussed the urgency of securing U.S. mineral supply chains in a post-COVID context.  Committee Chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who has long been an advocate of comprehensive mineral resource policy reform set the stage arguing that “[t]he pandemic has brought [...]
  • ARPN Expert Panel Member: U.S. Must Turn to Building Out Critical Mineral Supply Chains Securing Both Inputs and Outputs

    Earlier this month, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), long one of the leaders on Capitol Hill pushing for a comprehensive overhaul of our nation’s mineral resource policy, addressed the challenges of our nation’s over-reliance on foreign – and especially China-sourced critical metals and minerals against the backdrop of the current Coronavirus pandemic in a post [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Time to Reduce Our Reliance on “Untrustworthy Countries for Strategically Important Minerals”

    As we recover from collective food coma and return to our desks after a tumultuous Thanksgiving travel week, J. Winston Porter, a former EPA assistant administrator in Washington, reminds us of the importance of keeping the focus on the issues associated with our over-reliance on foreign mineral resources.    In a new piece for InsideSources, Porter [...]