Canada and the United States need to take advantage of the rising global demand for clean energy by harnessing their rare-earth minerals that are critical to electric cars, solar panels and wind turbines, says a senior U.S. official.
Francis Fannon, assistant secretary of state for energy resources, told The Globe and Mail Monday that the two countries are working together to secure a stable supply of critical minerals for North America’s manufacturing and high-tech industries that will drive the green economy.
“The world is going to need more minerals because the call for cleaner forms of energy is significant and it is of a scale of the likes that the world has never seen before,” he said. “The public demand for clean forms of energy is skyrocketing.”
The U.S. government has become increasingly worried about China, which produces 70 per cent of the world’s rare-earth minerals and is busy buying up critical mines in Africa, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The U.S. fears China could hold Western economies hostage by denying critical minerals as it did to Japan in 2010 while the two countries were sparring over disputed islands. At the height of the U.S.-China trade war, Beijing last year threatened to restrict the export of some rare-earth minerals.
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