Full Title: The United States Mineral Supply Insecurity and Dependence on Rare Earth Elements
Author(s): Jamil Hijazi
Publisher(s): The Payne Institute for Public Policy
Publication Date: April 2, 2020
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Despite the trade war with China and the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the United States of America (U.S) faces the continuous problem of resource dependence and resource insecurity of its processed Rare Earth mineral supply chain. The latter problem arises for three reasons: First, is the import reliance on Chinese processed Rare Earth supply to the United States. Second, is the negligence of the U.S in developing its own mining sector. Third, is the disconnect between mineral strategy and policy. The aim of this brief to shed an understanding on the current U.S capacity to refine Rare Earths, and to provide recommendations to achieve a sustainable industry.
Are Rare Earths rare? No. These elements found in minerals are abundant, difficult to obtain and undergo chemical separation numerous times to achieve the product in the purest form. There are seventeen different types of Rare Earth Elements (REE). The most current mineable deposits economically extracted come from China.