The United States is highly dependent on foreign mining and needs to further strengthen its alliances to guarantee its supply of critical minerals, the Commerce Department (DOC) noted.
Overall, the United States imports many critical mineral products from markets around the world.
Specifically, of the 35 minerals designated as critical, the United States is an importer (imports are greater than 50% of annual consumption) of 31 of those.
Likewise, the country depends 100% on imports from other nations for 14 of these 31 minerals.
Maintaining access to these sources of mining is vital to the economic security and national defense of the United States.
«Increased trade and cooperation with allies and partners can help reduce our nation’s dependence on critical mineral sources that could be affected,» the DOC said in a report titled: A Federal Strategy to Ensure Safe and Reliable Supplies of critical minerals.
«The rigorous application of United States trade laws and international agreements could also help to address the adverse effects of market distorting foreign trade behavior,» he adds.
Mining and risk
As the world economy grows, the United States will face increased competition for access to critical minerals from foreign suppliers.
Increasing trade with allies and partners can help reduce the likelihood of disruption to critical mining supply chains.
For example, Canada and Mexico supply all or part of the United States’ consumption for many critical minerals.
«The United States has historical trade relationships, established logistics chains, and geographic proximity to these countries,» argues the DOC. «Working with them to develop their critical mineral deposits can help improve the security of American supply.»
In parallel, the United States cooperates with many partners around the world on issues related to mining and specifically the supply of critical minerals.
For example, the USGS has memoranda of understanding with geological surveys of partner countries to conduct research on topics of mutual interest.
These memoranda of understanding have led to many joint activities, such as an ongoing dialogue on mineral information and resource assessments with Australia.