US Commerce Department offers solution for obtaining minerals critical to the military


Now all Heavy Rare Earths (HRE) separation is in China.

In response to China's threats regarding rare-earth exports, the U.S. Department of Commerce published a 50-page report yesterday that outlined a series of measures aimed at reducing America's reliance on China for these economically and strategically important minerals. -China trade talks in May, a visit by Chinese leader Xi Jinping to a Chinese rare earth company, coupled with recent commentaries in state-run media, has fueled speculation that the regime may retaliate against the recent USA tariff hike and export ban on Chinese telecom giant Huawei by halting exports of rare earths to the United States.

Rare earths - a group of 17 vital elements used in missile systems, electric-vehicle, computer screens and other tech devices - have been thrown into the limelight after China signaled it may restrict shipments to the U.S. Lynas has been talks with the U.S. Department of Defense and the Defense Logistics Agency "pretty much for as long as I've been in the job and I'm thinking before that as well", she said.

Mei agreed that it is necessary to set up export controls for strategically important products that China produces in bulk, such as rare earths, saying it may be hard to track the exports. The manifestation of Washington's growing concern about securing resources and building supply chains, a federal report released June 4 announces six calls to action, 24 goals and 61 recommendations accompanied by timelines for accomplishment.

That is up almost 14 percent from May 20, the day Chinese President Xi Jinping visited a rare earth plant, sparking speculation the materials could be the next front in the Sino-U.S. trade war.

The country's tariff tactics might present an image of Fortress America battling its adversaries, but a new critical minerals strategy advocates greater co-operation between the USA and its friends. For 14 of them, imports account for 100% of supply, creating "a strategic vulnerability for both our economy and our military with respect to adverse foreign government actions, natural disasters, and other events that could disrupt supply".

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The world's largest rare earth producer outside China will prioritise the United States military's needs when it starts production at its upcoming plant in Texas, the firm's chief executive has said.

In 2010, Beijing cut off exports of rare earths to Japan after a Chinese fishing boat collided with two Japan Coast Guard ships in the East China Sea.

The NDRC said in late May that China is willing to continue supplying rare earth metals to global markets but is opposed to those who use products made with rare earths to "suppress and dampen China's development". However, it now looks like the United States is readying itself for such a scenario by looking at alternate rare earth mines to compensate for any supply loss from the Chinese side. "And that's why the WTO basically gave China on the environmental restrictions that we in the United States have to adhere to".

The report recommended a range of measures to boost self-sufficiency in critical minerals, from short-term steps, such as stockpiling, to long-term moves including exploring deposit sources, constructing new mines, and re-establishing manufacturing and processing capacity. "Working with them to develop their critical mineral deposits can help improve the security of US supply".

Privately held MP Materials, which owns the Mountain Pass mine in California, aims to open a processing facility by next year. Ironically, the US was the leading global producer of rare earths from the 1960s to the 80s, when production began shifting off shore.