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US to join Canada, Australia in bid reduce reliance on China for minerals

The United States will join Canada and Australia to help countries around the world develop their reserves of minerals like lithium, copper and cobalt.

The US State Department said that the country will team up with Canada and Australia as part of a strategy to reduce global reliance on China for minerals.

Washington has grown more concerned recently about its dependence on mineral imports after Beijing suggested using them as leverage in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Withholding rare earth minerals would interrupt the manufacture of a wide range of consumer, industrial and military goods, including everything from mobile phones to batteries to fighter jets.

“Over 80 percent of the global supply chain of rare earth elements is controlled by one country,” the State Department said in a fact sheet outlining the effort, which it has dubbed the Energy Resource Governance Initiative. “Reliance on any one source increases the risk of supply disruptions.”

Under the plan, the US will share mining expertise with other countries to help them discover and develop their resources and advise on management and governance frameworks to help ensure their industries are attractive to international investors.

Doing so will help to ensure global supply for the minerals can meet world demand, which is projected to surge alongside the growing take-up in high-technology goods.