To reduce China’s leverage, rebuild America’s minerals supply chain – by Mark J. Perry (The Hill – June 26, 2018)

Imagine a scenario where the U.S. is entirely dependent on a single nation for oil. You can’t. It’s inconceivable. We would never let one nation — much less a sometimes adversarial rival — dominate our supply of a critical resource. Or would we?

Astoundingly, we have. We are completely import-dependent for 21 mineral commodities, and imports account for more than half of our consumption for 50 critical minerals. Who’s our largest supplier? China.

While much of China’s resource dominance comes from domestic production, it doesn’t end at the border. Chinese companies have come to control the production of key minerals resources in nearly every corner of the world.

Take for example lithium, the critical component to lithium-ion batteries which are now in everything from our computers and cell phones to electric vehicles (EVs). China produces relatively little lithium at home but a Chinese company, Tianqi Lithium, effectively controls nearly half of the world’s lithium production.

Or take cobalt, also critically important to battery production. While the majority of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, China processes more than 80 percent of the cobalt chemicals actually used in the batteries.

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