9 November 2021
by Andrea Gaini

The state of the US supply chain for critical minerals

A new report, published by The Wilson Center, is shining a light on the ‘United States' troubling scenario when it comes to the supply chain for critical minerals’.

© Steve Morfi/Shutterstock

The report, titled The mosaic approach: a Multidimensional Strategy for Strengthening America’s Critical Minerals Supply Chain, reads, ‘Rapidly increasing demand, under-developed national resources, intense international competition, and years of neglect in this issue area place the US at a distinct disadvantage vis-à-vis China in securing access to the metals and rare earth elements that are vital for the energy transition and for geopolitical ambitions.

‘The United States must take a number of key steps to make the critical minerals supply chain more resilient.’

The report outlines these steps as:

  • Government actions
  • Explicitly recognise the link between critical minerals on the one hand and geopolitical and climate goals on the other
  • Prioritise the development of national resources and processing facilities in the United States, while also embracing new technological solutions
  • Focus on strengthening human capital in the critical minerals sector
  • Streamline the permitting process for opening new mines
  • Consider the stockpiling of critical minerals
  • Private sector actions
  • Lower the risk profile of mining for investors to facilitate investment in the industry
  • Seek long-term, fixed price contracts to guarantee supply
  • Invest in new technologies to lower costs
  • Invest in human capital through universities and community colleges, as well as lifelong learning approaches
  • Highlight how mining contributes to a clean energy future
  • International actions
     
  • The US must work with international allies and partners to develop new resources
  • Leverage the USMCA and strong mining industries within North America
  • Work with international partners to create a global regime for critical minerals that emphasises minimum standards for ESG

 

Authors

Andrea Gaini