Arguing that “[o]ur ceding of leadership in the mining and processing of critical materials has contributed to China’s rise as the world’s number one producer of rare earths,” Green discusses how the United States can counter Chinese threats to “utilize its rare earth capabilities as a sword and shield against U.S. interests,” by “developing our own domestic production and supply of this precious resource — one secure from foreign influence.”
He points to actions on the part of the Administration and Congress that instill optimism in this regard, such as the recently-released Presidential Determinations declaring five REE technologies critical to national defense and deserving of DoD support, as well as the inclusion of a provision into the U.S. House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to require DoD to “promulgate guidance on the acquisition of rare earth elements as part of a strategy to eliminate dependence on China by 2035.”
Aside from these steps, the U.S. Administration has also sought to foster cooperative efforts with allied nations to secure access to critical minerals. Most recently, the Department of Defense announced that it was in talks with Australia regarding the possibility of the country hosting a REE processing facility.
And while President Trump’s recent quip about wanting to buy Greenland – which ARPN’s McGroarty sees ascending to having a foothold as a major metals supplier to the 21st Century Tech Revolution — is unlikely to result in a deal with Denmark, it points to an overall shift towards more a strategic approach to resource policy and our nation’s critical mineral needs on the part of the Administration, which is a welcome development.
Meanwhile, Green insists that our domestic production capabilities can and must be strengthened. He concludes:
“Rare earths are not the first critical material subject to unfair supply pressures from foreign powers. They will not be the last. In the past, the U.S. government has shown an interest in supporting domestic production of critical materials through a variety of measures, including domestic sourcing restrictions and direct government funding. All of these tools should be brought to bear to build a secure rare earth supply chain, especially when the consequences of inaction are clear and dire. China should not underestimate the innovation of American miners and manufacturers in helping the U.S. to counter Chinese aggression. In the same vein, the U.S. must not either.”