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exclusive: pentagon races to track u.s. rare earths output amid china trade dispute

by:Newland     2019-10-17
(Reuters)-
The Pentagon is rapidly evaluating the US rare earth capabilities to ensure a stable supply of special materials in the country\'s trade conflict with China, which controls the rare earth industry, according to a government document seen by Reuters.
A few weeks ago, China threatened to restrict exports of rare earths to the United States. The United States is a country of 17 minerals used to make fighter jets, tanks and a range of consumer electronics.
The Pentagon wants miners to describe plans to develop the United States. S.
According to the documents of June 27, rare earth mines and processing facilities and asked manufacturers to elaborate on their needs for these minerals.
A response needs to be made before July 31, a short time frame that emphasizes the urgency of the Pentagon. The U. S.
The government\'s fiscal year will end on September. The U. S.
The Air Force, which was part of the Pentagon and created the document, confirmed the existence of the document.
Pentagon headquarters did not respond to requests for comment.
Two government contractors, including Northrop Grumman, will review the responses, which did not respond to requests for comment.
Anthony Marchese, chairman of Texas Mineral Resources, said: \"The government wants to know how much of these minerals we can eventually produce and how long . \" The company is working to develop a circular top rare earth deposit on the western edge of the state.
However, when asked if they would respond to the Pentagon, several miners declined to comment, indicating the sensitivity of rare earth mine development in the United States during the ongoing development of rare earth minesS. -
China trade dispute
The document does not provide loans, grants or other financial support directly to the United States. S.
Rare Earth project.
But part of the Pentagon\'s demand comes from the Defense Production Act (DPA), a 1950s-era U. S.
The law provides the Pentagon with a broad space for purchasing defense equipment.
According to industry analysts and consultants, after reviewing these responses, the Pentagon ultimately expects the industry to receive some form of financial assistance.
Although China accounts for only the third largest rare earth reserves in the world, it accounts for 80% of U. S. rare earth reserves. S.
According to U. S. Media reports, imports of minerals are due to the fact that it controls almost all facilities for processing raw materials. S.
Geological Survey data.
It is unclear how much money the US has. S.
The military will spend money to boost the U. S. Rare earth industry because the peace agreement does not set financial restrictions.
In a letter dated June, the Pentagon noted that government investment is typically $5 million (£3. 9 million)
$20 million per project.
\"The overall goal is to ensure and ensure a viable domestic supplier (of rare earths)for the long-
The term, \"according to Nine-page document.
The Air Force Research Laboratory, which drafted the request, said it wanted information related to the United States. S.
Rare earth \"the shortcomings, risks and opportunities that military investment may solve \".
\"There is no guarantee that any submitted subject will be supported militarily,\" said Diana Karin, Air Force executive agency program manager for procurement-related DPA projects, in an email statement to Reuters.
James Litinsky, co-
The chairman of MP materials, which owns the Mountain Pass mine in California, said the United States needed \"a sustainable superpower to supply the minerals.
\"A superpower will be a big producer of global industries.
MP material, the only existing USS.
The rare earth plant has shipped its ore to China for processing and has been subject to 25% tariffs since last month.
Some industry analysts have called on the Pentagon to expand its research scope and pledged to provide direct government funding for rare earth magnets and motor manufacturing, as the Chinese government has done. \"The U. S.
Even now, the government has not taken a comprehensive approach to the entire supply chain of rare earths, which is a problem, \"said Jack livton, an industry analyst at Technology Metals Research Co. , Ltd. , in an interview this week. BILLS IN U. S.
The Pentagon\'s request is based on several executive orders from President Donald Trump on strategic minerals, which he says are critical to defense. Several U. S.
In recent weeks, senators have launched legislation aimed at promoting domestic production of lithium, rare earths and other strategic minerals. On Thursday, U. S.
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio has introduced a bill that allows rare earth producers to set up cooperatives to avoid U. S. dependence on rare earths. S.
Antitrust regulations
These bills have not yet been passed.
Defense officials told Reuters last month that the Pentagon also held talks with rare earth suppliers in Malawi and Burundi.
\"There is a growing sense of urgency in developing rare earth supply chains in North America,\" said Medallion Resources Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Don Lay, who earlier this month said it was looking at potential locations across North America to develop rare earth extraction plants. (
For a graphic of \"China\'s rising export prices for rare earths after trade\", click (
For interactive graphics on rare earth products, click (
Ernest Shedd of Houston reports
Additional reports by Mike Stone in Washington;
Edited by Amran Abocar and Matthew Lewis)
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