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North of 60 Mining News piece traces DoD “About-Face” on REEs

In a comprehensive new piece for North of 60, Mining News publisher Shane Lasley zeroes in on the Department of Defense’s apparent course reversal on Rare Earth Elements in which the Pentagon recommended the establishment of strategic stockpiles for seven REEs in the near term.

This “about-face,” as Lasley calls it, comes less than a year after researchers at the Pentagon downplayed the United States’ dependence particularly on Rare Earths – a widely-criticized assessment that was labeled “naïve” and “ill-informed” by experts at the time.

The new report, which only a handful external experts have been privy to review, finds “shortfalls – insufficient supply to meet demand – for approximately a third of these [the 72 metals and minerals studied in the report] materials,” and goes on to recommend the earmarking of US $1.24 billion to build a strategic stockpile for a number of materials meeting shortfall criteria.

As Lasley points out, experts are “heartened” by DoD’s course-reversal, but “the Strategic Materials Advisory Council – a Washington, DC-based nonprofit group comprised of former U.S. government leaders and strategic materials experts – does not believe buying rare earths from China to place in a U.S. stockpile goes far enough.”

To read the whole article, in which Lasley does a fantastic job of tracing the steps of the Pentagon’s course reversal and embedding it into the overall context of U.S. mineral resource policy, click here.