U.S. needs more mines to boost rare earths supply chain, Pentagon says

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Oct 19 (Reuters) – The United States and ally nations ought to mine and course of more rare earths to guarantee enough world supply of the strategic minerals for army and business makes use of, a U.S. Department of Defense official mentioned on Tuesday.

The remarks underscore the Pentagon’s rising curiosity in public-private mining partnerships to counter China’s standing as the highest world producer of rare earths, the 17 minerals used to make specialised magnets for weaponry and electrical autos (EVs).

“We know we cannot resolve our shared exposure to supply chain risk without a close partnership with industry,” Danielle Miller of the Pentagon’s Office of Industrial Policy informed the Adamas Intelligence North American Critical Minerals Days convention.

“New primary production of strategic and critical minerals – in a word, mining – is a necessity to increase resilience in global supply chains.”

Miller cited current investments in U.S. rare earth tasks beneath improvement by MP Materials Corp (MP.N), Urban Mining Co, and a three way partnership of Australia’s Lynas Rare Earths Ltd (LYC.AX) and Blue Line Corp as proof of the Pentagon’s need to be a “patient, strategic investor” in non-public trade.

“Domestic production of strategic and critical materials is the ultimate hedge against the risk of deliberate non-market interference in extended overseas supply chains,” Miller mentioned, a probable reference to China’s hints it may curtail rare earth exports to the United States.

“We are under no illusions about the competing pressures facing” the U.S. mining trade.

Miller additionally mentioned the Pentagon desires to assist mining firms in ally nations “create a common understanding of sustainability.” U.S. environmental requirements for mining are among the many tightest on this planet.

“We want to work with (miners) to accelerate the transition from the lowest cost, technically acceptable sourcing, to one that reflects our values,” Miller mentioned.

Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Richard Chang

A view of the MP Materials rare earth open-pit mine in Mountain Pass, California, U.S. January 30, 2020. Picture taken January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: A view of the MP Materials rare earth open-pit mine in Mountain Pass, California, U.S. January 30, 2020. Picture taken January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo/File Photo

Wheel loaders fill trucks with ore at the MP Materials rare earth mine in Mountain Pass, California, U.S. January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo