The remote Outback region of northern Australia would seem an unlikely outpost in the simmering global trade war, but the mining hot spot may help solve a critical issue for the U.S. — the supply of rare earths.
Last October, two U.S. Geological Survey scientists visited a newly recognized type of rare earths deposit about 100 miles southeast of Halls Creek in Western Australia. Rare earths, a group of 17 vital elements needed in components for missile systems, consumer electronics and electric vehicles, have become a more important battleground after China signaled it may restrict shipments to the U.S.
“All of a sudden, you’ve got the U.S. government realizing they have a problem,” said George Bauk, chief executive officer of Northern Minerals Ltd., who has held talks in Washington and hosted the U.S. scientists at the company’s remote Browns Range project. Continue Reading →