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  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski

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  • Sen. Murkowski, Panelists, Underscore Urgency of Securing Critical Mineral Supply Chains

    “With our eyes wide open, we are putting ourselves in the same vulnerable position [as we did with oil and gas decades ago] when it comes to these [critical] minerals,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told the audience at “Minerals: The Overlooked Foundation of Our Future,” an event organized by RealClearPolitics in partnership with our friends at the National Mining Association earlier today.

    Sen. Murkowski, who keynoted the event, added that while we have the resources, “we put hurdles in our own way extracting them and have clearly stepped aside [...] any leadership role in being able to process these minerals.”

    During the panels preceding Sen. Murkowski’s keynote, issue experts – including ARPN’s Daniel McGroarty — explored policy questions surrounding the importance of minerals, and ways to tackle the challenge of securing ever-complex critical mineral supply chains. Panelists, including two White House officials, emphasized the need to invest in the U.S. critical mineral knowledge base and workforce, the need for flexibility to account for breakthroughs in materials science which may change underlying dynamics, and for market awareness.

    Underscoring the urgency of the situation, Daniel McGroarty said “we can’t admire the problem anymore. We don’t have the luxury of time,” arguing that once supply chains are formed, “it’s very difficult to break them, and this will have national security consequences for us.” McGroarty suggested that the application of an “all-of-the-above” approach we’ve come to know from the energy policy discourse – in the context of working toward “resource independence,” a focus on new mining, recycling and reclamation of new minerals from old mine tailings — could be useful in formulating policy solutions for our critical mineral woes, and to reclaim our leadership role, from which “we have clearly – clearly stepped away” according to Sen. Murkowski.

    Video of entire full event is available here. Be sure to click on video “2 of 2″ to watch the stream.

  • With Rare Display of Bipartisanship in Congress and Resource Partnership Announcement With Allied Nations, Momentum Building for Mineral Resource Policy Reform

    Late last week, we witnessed the formal announcement of a forthcoming roll out of an “action plan” to counter Chinese dominance in the critical minerals sector during Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s week-long state visit to the U.S..

    According to news reports the plan will “open a new front against China in a widening technology and trade war by exploiting Australian reserves of the rare earths and other materials that are essential for products ranging from iPhones to batteries and hybrid cars.”

    Partnerships with reliable allies like Australia will go far — but they must be complemented by increased domestic production of critical minerals in the United States.   As ARPN expert panel member and president and founder of government relations firm J.A. Green & Co. Jeff Green wrote in a recent piece for Real Clear Politics  — if policymakers want to get serious about securing U.S. access to rare earths, “any real solution must include investing in our domestic production capabilities.” 

    Thankfully, as the tech wars deepen, calls for increasing U.S. domestic production of critical minerals ranging from those underpinning the battery tech revolution to the Rare Earths that have filled headlines in recent months, are getting louder. 

    Chairing a full Senate Committee hearing to “examine the sourcing and use of minerals needed for clean energy technologies,” earlier last week U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said in her opening remarks: 

    “Minerals are the fundamental building blocks for any modern technology, but they don’t just appear out of thin air. As our energy sector transitions to greater use of renewables, we must acknowledge that these technologies are built from materials that come from the ground. Batteries don’t work without lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel; solar panels require silver gallium, indium, tellurium; and wind turbines are not just built from steel, but also aluminum, copper, and rare earth elements.”

    Witnesses testifying at the hearing, during the course of which Sen. Murkowski released a Congressional Research Service Report comparing global forecasts for minerals used in renewable technologies, told Senators that the renewable energy transition must involve greater investment in the domestic mining of critical minerals, including the rare earths.

    The question and answer session following the prepared expert remarks saw an unusual display of bipartisanship amongst Senators all of whom agreed that a more “holistic approach” to critical mineral resource policy was warranted and that when it comes to critical minerals extracting, processing, recycling… now is our call to action. 

    Ultimately, whether or not the U.S. can unleash its own mineral potential and compete with China in the tech wars of the 21st Century will depend on policy makers’ ability to come together. As Sen. Murkowski stated:

    “The United States is capable of being a leader in the development of the minerals needed for clean energy technologies. We have incredible high-grade deposits in states like Alaska, but we have also ceded production, manufacturing, and recycling to our competitors. (…) We have to find the political will to advance policies that allow us to rebuild a robust domestic supply chain. Until we do that, our nation’s ability to develop and lead the world in renewable energy will be limited.”

    The momentum is here. Let’s hope stakeholders seize it. 

  • U.S. Senator: “Our Energy Future Is Bright, But Only If We Recognize The World We Are In”

    As the tech wars over Rare Earths and other critical metals and minerals deepen, competition is heating up in another field of resource policy.  In a new piece for the Washington Times, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) discusses the new realities of a globalized energy market and the consequences associated with America’s declining nuclear energy [...]
  • ARPN’s McGroarty Quoted in Daily Caller Piece on the Specter of China Playing the “Rare Earths Card”

    Reporting for the Daily Caller, Michael Bastasch zeroes in on what has once again become a hot button issue – Rare Earth Elements (REEs) in the context of trade relations, as reported Chinese threats to “escalate its trade dispute with the Trump administration to include rare earth minerals has, once again, shined a spotlight on U.S. [...]
  • Trade Tensions Underscore Need for Mineral Resource Policy Reform

    While 2018 brought the inter-relationship between trade and resource policy to the forefront, this trend is continuing in 2019.   Last week, the White House announced sanctions on Iranian metals, which represent the Tehran regime’s biggest source of export revenue aside from petroleum.  The sanctions on Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum and copper sectors represent the [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • U.S. Senators Introduce Legislation in Push to Re-Establish U.S. Domestic REE Supply Chain

    Bearing testimony to a nascent – and long-overdue – broader awareness of our nation’s over-reliance on foreign mineral resources, three U.S. senators have introduced new legislation aimed to reduce U.S. dependence on Chinese imports of rare earth elements (REEs). REEs are key components of a wide range of high-tech products across all walks of life [...]
  • McGroarty Warns of Real World Problem for 21st Century American Warrior

    In a new commentary for Investor’s Business Daily, ARPN principal Daniel McGroarty warns of “America’s unilateral disarmament in the resource wars.”  Invoking the world of Marvel comics, in which Vibranium is the imaginary metal used for Captain America’s shield, IronMan’s exoskeleton, and Black Panther’s energy-absorbing suit, McGroarty argues that the 21st Century American warrior (perhaps [...]
  • Washington’s Mining and Resource Policy Agenda – What’s in Store for 2019?

    As we get back into the swing of things, a new piece for E&E News previews the anticipated 2019 mining and mineral resource policy agenda in Washington, DC. Here are some of the highlights: With a shift of power in the House of Representatives, hard rock leasing and reclamation issues are expected to come up [...]
  • Senate Committee Chairman in Critical Minerals Hearing: No “Immaculate Conception” – iPhones, Fighter Jets, Solar Panels, All These Things Don’t Just Appear Out of Thin Air

    Earlier this week, the full U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to “examine the Department of the Interior’s final list of critical minerals for 2018 and opportunities to strengthen the United States’ mineral security.” Panelists included representatives from USGS and the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) as well as industry stakeholders and [...]