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American Resources Policy Network
Promoting the development of American mineral resources.
  • Podcast: Battery Tech Supply Chain Expert Simon Moores Discusses Lithium Challenge

    American Jobs Plan, Green New Deal … irrespective of whether these plans will get implemented fully or in part, the renewable energy transition is already here, and it’s here to stay.

    The renewable energy sector has been transforming at neck-breaking speed, and with that, demand for the metals and minerals underpinning the green energy shift has been surging. EV battery technology is one of the key drivers of these developments, and battery mega factories are shooting up like mushrooms.

    In a recent podcast interview with HC Insider, Simon Moores — managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and a member of the ARPN panel of experts — zeroes in on lithium, one of the key building blocks of battery technology.

    As HC Insider points out, “[lithium] mining is constrained by available ores and multiyear start up times. Chemical processing and cathode production is technically challenging, environmentally impactful, and concentrated in China. EV manufacturers are buying all the Lithium supply they can on decade-long contracts.”

    With demand forecast to vastly outstrip supply two decades from now, the question of how the rest of the world can tackle the lithium supply chain challenges going forward looms large.

    Take a listen as Simon Moores, who has testified before the U.S. Congress on several occasions to alert U.S. policy makers to the magnitude of the global battery arms race, discusses the issue here.

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  • A Pivotal Moment to “Get Serious About Building the Domestic Mineral Supply Chain”

    Last month, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order instructing his economic and national security teams to conduct a 100 day review of four key U.S. supply chains across federal agencies to assess the nation’s resiliency and capacity of the American manufacturing supply chains and defense industrial base to support national security [and] emergency preparedness.

    Targeting supply chains for semiconductors, high-capacity batteries, medical supplies and rare earth metals, the White House aims to “identify ways to secure U.S. supply chains against a wide range of risks and vulnerabilities.”

    The executive order comes against the backdrop of two recent announcements which mark a pivotal moment for EV battery technology in the United States: President Biden’s declaration to shift the entire federal vehicle fleet to EVs made in America, and General Motors’ announcement to cease production of cars powered by combustion engines by 2035. Undoubtedly, this will further heat up the already turbocharged lithium-ion-battery-to-electric-vehicle (EV) supply chain.

    As the National Mining Association’s Rich Nolan wrote in a recent RealClear Energy piece, this moment “offers both the potential for significant progress in reducing emissions and the opportunity for the U.S. to win the accelerating race for the future of the auto industry and the millions of jobs it supports.” But he cautioned that “if we don’t get serious about building the domestic mineral supply chain to support it, it’s a race we could lose.”

    Followers of ARPN know that we are already “in the midst of a global battery arms race in which the US is presently a bystander” — and that China, having taken the initiative to build battery capacity at speed and scale has long taken the pole position.

    Citing Benchmark Mineral Intelligence data, Nolan pointed to the fact that while 142 battery megafactories are currently in the pipeline worldwide, of these 107 will be in China, with 53 already actively producing. Meanwhile, there are currently only nine megafactories lined up in the United States.

    To succeed in this environment, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s Simon Moores says stakeholders will need to understand the lithium-ion-to-EV supply chain, its individual sections, and the linkage between them:

    “Automakers who quickly understand the importance of these linked steps in the battery supply chain to the quality and cost of their EVs will be the most successful at navigating the next decade. For governments, the shifts in the economics of the supply chain outlined in this article provide opportunities to create jobs, garner influence over a strategic industry, and establish new trading relationships, particularly relevant as Europe and the United States, under a Biden presidency, will seek to reduce reliance on China as a single point in the supply chain. Those who do not see the importance of the lithium-ion battery will have no meaningful future.”

    It’s not too late yet, but time and a firm commitment are of the essence. Concludes Nolan:

    “Catching up to China will mean building an EV supply-chain strategy from the mine up. The U.S. has the resources to do it. What we need now is a commitment to prioritize the production and a mines-to-markets strategy that enables us to build infrastructure for the electrification of transportation that will support American industry and millions of American workers.”

    President Biden’s executive order and the confirmation of Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm are early indications that the current administration understands the stakes. Here’s hoping that decisive action to strengthen our domestic critical mineral supply chains from EVs to Rare Earths and beyond will follow.

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  • 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 [...]
  • Europe Forges Ahead With Battery Gigafactory Buildout As U.S. Still Struggles to Get Off Starting Block

    The current coronavirus pandemic may have thrown a wrench into the gears of many industries, but — against the backdrop of skyrocketing materials supply needs in the context of the green energy transition — Europe continues to forge ahead with the buildout of its large-scale battery gigafactory capacity.  According to London-based Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, whose [...]
  • Independence Day 2020 – Critical Mineral Resource Policy in a Watershed Year

    It’s that time of the year again – Independence Day is upon us.  This year, things are different, though. If you’re like us, it kind of snuck up on you, and it took seeing the booths selling fireworks in the parking lots to realize it’s July already.  After all, we just came off the longest month of [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • Event Alert – This Week: EV Supply Chain Festival 2020

    “Cancelled.”  It’s a word we’ve become all to familiar with in recent week.  Sports.  Concerts.  Conferences.  As a consequence of the current Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen a slew of festival cancellations in recent weeks.  Thankfully, 21st Century technology (powered by critical metals and minerals) has made it possible to shift over to virtual get-togethers, and [...]
  • 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 [...]
  • New Chart Unveils Supply Chain Weaknesses for Manganese, a Critical Input for EV Technology

    Testifying before the U.S Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in February 2019, ARPN expert panel member and managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Simon Moores sounded the alarm on the supply chains of metals and minerals that are key components of battery technology and energy storage. Arguing that we were in the middle [...]
  • Lithium: Battery Arms Race Powers R&D Efforts in Quest for Domestic Mineral Resources

    As the “tech wars” gear up and the “battery arms race” shifts in to higher gears, efforts to promote the securing of domestic critical mineral supply chains are not only underway in policy circles in Washington, DC, but in the private sector as well.  Companies including the world’s top diversified miners are intensifying their R&D efforts [...]

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