As tensions heat up afresh in the second year of the trade war between the two biggest global economies, a new battlefront has emerged—that of rare earth metals. The US is heavily reliant on rare earth because it is needed for the country’s weapons systems, as well as electronics.
At the Argus U.S. Specialty Metals conference in Chicago, Jason Nie, a materials engineer with the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), said “We are looking for any source of supply outside China. We want diversity. We don’t want a single-source producer.”
The DLA has also spoken to Burundi’s Rainbow Rare Earths Ltd about rare earth supply in the future, a further sign of the Pentagon diversifying its sources.
Rainbow Rare Earths Ltd (LON:RBW) is a mining company focussed on production from, and expansion of, the high grade Gakara Rare Earth Project in Burundi, East Africa. With in-situ grades in the range of 47-67% Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO), Gakara is one of the world’s richest rare earth deposits.