This week’s Critical Metals Report on the Gold Report’s website features an exclusive detailed interview with the latest expert to join the American Resources panel of experts: Jeffery Green, President and Founder of J.A. Green & Company, and Founder of the Strategic Materials Advisory Council.
Discussing the U.S. policy landscape against the backdrop of the latest WTO case against China put forth by the U.S., the EU and Japan, and lamenting that Washington doesn’t even have a coherent definition of strategic and critical minerals, Green argues that policy makers are missing the point about rare earth element supply. Green calls for the development of a coherent domestic supply chain for the United States to remain competitive. Here are some of the interview’s key points:
· As the U.S. mostly imports components and end products containing REEs (rather than the metals themselves), U.S. demand appears fairly low, creating the misleading perception that we can meet our own demand, which we can for the direct sale of some REEs, but not for phosphors, metals and other magnets.
· Consumers continue to turn to China for access to raw material supplies.
· U.S. policy on the issue remains piecemeal, with agencies working from different angles, and policy makers in Congress unable to set a coherent framework largely due to partisan politics.
· In light of China’s near total monopoly, free market forces alone are insufficient to sort out REE supply chain issues, as even with new sources of supply coming online, “significant portions of that supply chain will still be relying on China for key processing technologies and intellectual property.”
· The WTO case is unlikely to increase REE supply.
· The current trend of metal processors moving to China is a big concern, as assembly makers, and ultimately end-product users will likely follow. The lighting industry, in which the majority of production already takes place in China, is a case in point. If the REE field goes down this trajectory, U.S. stands to lose economically, and runs the risk of intellectual property leakages.
Green shares a lot more insight, so read the rest of the interview here.