U.S. Reliance on Mineral Imports Threatens National Security, According to New Report by the American Resources Policy Network

China supplies more than 1 in 5 minerals vital to our commercial and defense sectors, according to the report, yet proven U.S. resources exist for 87 percent of these minerals

JUNE 6th, 2012, WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the American Resources Policy Network released a report which reveals an alarming dependence on foreign supplies of strategic minerals and metals due to lack of domestic production and availability of these critical resources. The report also highlights the risk posed to national security.

For 43 minerals deemed “critical” and “strategic” by the Department of Defense and other Federal agencies, the U.S. is at least 50 percent dependent on foreign supplies. China alone supplies more than 1 in every 5 vital minerals we need for national defense. 

“The U.S. government desperately needs a coherent national mineral access strategy,” said Daniel McGroarty, President of the American Resources Policy Network. “We are acutely dependent on foreign supplies of non-fuel minerals and metals that are vital to commercial manufacturing and advanced weapons systems. Our exposure to potential supply disruptions is a profound national security threat.”

The report, entitled “Assessing Risk: Critical Metals & National Security,” compiled data from 11 studies by the Department of Defense, Government Accountability Office, and other Federal agencies. It presents an “American Resources Risk Pyramid,” which graphically weights and segments the 46 most-cited minerals and metals, and analyzes dependence.

“The most striking finding is that our foreign mineral dependence is largely self-inflicted,” said McGroarty. “The U.S. has known domestic resources for 40 of the 46 minerals we reviewed – nearly 90 percent of them. By failing to mine the minerals we have, we are making a conscious choice to weaken our national security.”

The report’s findings come at a time when recent EPA action is creating a chilling effect on domestic resource exploration and development. The EPA is using the Clean Water Act to impede U.S. domestic resource development, notably the revocation of Spruce Mine in West Virginia and its consideration of a first of its kind preemptive veto of Pebble Deposit in Alaska. The latter one of the largest reserves of strategic minerals and metals: copper, molybdenum, gold, silver and rhenium.

“When it comes to strategic metals and minerals, we need government agencies like the EPA to proactively work with industry to effectively develop America's natural resources, rather than expand its regulatory authority in an effort to shut projects down, said Lisa Reisman, Executive Editor of MetalMiner.”

The report was launched today at ARPN’s Strategic Minerals Conference 2012 in Washington, D.C. The event brought together thought leaders from the public and private sectors to discuss the close relationship between strategic minerals to national security. Featured speakers included U.S. Congressmen Mike Coffman (CO-6) and Mark Amodei (NV-2), and Retired Major General Robert Latiff, Director of the Intelligence and Security Research Center at George Mason University. 

“The Strategic Minerals Conference affords an ideal opportunity to educate and learn about the vital role strategic minerals play in our economy,” said Gareth Hatch, Founding Principal of Technology Metals Research. “Until the U.S. Government issues a definitive, actionable study of strategic mineral issues in the context of national security, the American Resource Risk Pyramid provides an accessible view of our foreign supply exposures.”


The full report “Assessing Risk: Critical Metals & National Security” can be accessed here: http://americanresources.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/ARPN_Quarterly_Report_WEB.pdf

The American Resources Policy Network is a non-partisan 501(c)3 education and public policy research organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit americanresources.org.

Media Contact:
Daniel McGroarty
American Resources Policy Network