Energy Secretary Expresses US’s Deep Concerns Over China’s Control in Critical Minerals Market

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Written By Kevin MacDonald

The United States has expressed significant concern over China’s dominant position in the global supply chain for critical minerals, essential for the energy transition.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm highlighted the strategic challenge posed by China’s control over the production and supply of vital minerals like nickel, copper, lithium, and cobalt, which are crucial for technologies such as electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels.

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China’s Dominance in Critical Minerals

China holds a leading role in the critical minerals market, producing about 60% of the world’s rare earth minerals and materials.

This dominance raises strategic concerns for the U.S., particularly as the country aims to shift towards low-carbon energy sources.

China Country Flag Pile Coal Illustration — Stock Photo, Image
Credits: DepositPhotos

U.S. Response and Strategy

In response to this challenge, Granholm emphasized the U.S. government’s efforts to update its regulations, including revising a 150-year-old mining law, to promote sustainable and efficient extraction of critical minerals domestically.

The U.S. also seeks to strengthen partnerships with countries sharing similar values, such as Australia and Canada, to diversify the sources of critical minerals and reduce dependency on nations with differing values.

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International Cooperation and Domestic Focus

The U.S. is actively discussing strategies to ensure a reliable supply of critical minerals with international partners, particularly at forums like the International Energy Agency’s Ministerial Meeting.

The goal is to build a critical stockpile of essential minerals and broaden the supply chain both domestically and internationally.

Challenges and Opportunities

The increasing demand for critical minerals highlights the current shortfall in supply needed for the energy sector’s transformation.

With much of the production geographically concentrated in countries like China, Vietnam, Brazil, and Russia, the U.S. faces challenges securing an adequate supply of these essential materials.

However, Granholm remains optimistic about the potential for quick international cooperation and the longer-term prospects for increasing domestic production and processing of critical minerals.

Trade war between United states of america VS China . flag on cracked wall background . Confliction and crisis concept — Stock Photo, Image
Credits: DepositPhotos

In summary, the U.S. is proactively addressing the challenges posed by China’s control over the critical minerals supply chain by updating regulations, fostering international partnerships, and focusing on domestic production.

These efforts are aimed at ensuring a diversified and reliable supply of essential minerals for the transition to a clean energy economy.

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