Amidst growing concerns over the availability of metals and minerals underpinning the EV revolution, the United States, Canada and Australia have joined forces to encourage the responsible development of said materials.
As the Financial Times reported earlier last week, the US state department and its Canadian and Australian counterparts “will work to help countries discover and understand their mineral resources. They will advise on management and governance frameworks that will attract international investment and support good environmental and social policies.”
China – itself no stranger to playing politics with its position of strength in the resource realm – has long been jockeying for pole position in this area, for good reason. As Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and member of the ARPN panel of experts stated earlier with respect to EV battery technology: “whoever controls these supply chains controls industrial power in the 21st century.”
The move for greater international cooperation comes as the threat of China playing the REE card looms larger than ever, as we discussed earlier last week.
While potentially at the brink of seeing REE supply disruptions for military equipment firms, the United States appears to have awaken to the realities of 21st Century resource policies. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce released its Critical Minerals Strategy calling for “unprecedented action to ensure that the United States will not be cut off from these vital materials.”
The cooperative push by the U.S. State Department may be separate from that effort, but ties into the overall realization that the materials science revolution requires are more comprehensive, strategic and concerted approach to resource policy than that pursued by the United States to date.
Meanwhile, Europe is also stepping up its mineral resource game, particularly in the EV realm.
Against this backdrop, U.S. action becomes all the more urgent. It is not too late yet. Says Moores:
“There is no doubt that if the US acts now and invests wisely in partnerships, it can catch up, (…) [b]ut it really needs to act now.”