Canada, U.S. agree on strategy to reduce need for rare-earth metals mined by China – by Robert Fife (Globe and Mail – December 27, 2019)

Canada and the United States have signed a memo of understanding to reduce their reliance on China for rare-earth minerals that are critical to high-tech and military products, such as smartphones, electric cars and weapons guidance systems.

Officials in both countries have been working since August to develop an action plan for specialty mineral projects and strategic investments in North American processing facilities, as well as greater research and development in extraction of rare-earth materials.

The memorandum was signed on Dec. 19 and aims to secure “resilient supply chains for critical energy minerals” for key sectors, including aerospace, defence and clean technology, according to a statement by Canada’s Natural Resources ministry and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Pierre Gratton, president of the Mining Association of Canada, said China is gaining control over critical minerals and metals such as uranium, lithium, cesium and cobalt.

These types of specialty materials are used in a wide variety of products ranging from lasers, computer chips, electric vehicles, solar panels, smartphones and military equipment, including smart bombs and fighter jets.

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