The US military hopes to cooperate with Australia to break China’s dominant position in the global supply of rare earths. Rare earth is a mineral resource and an important raw material for mobile phones and other sophisticated weapons.
Ellen Lord, assistant secretary of defense for the US Department of Defense, told reporters on Monday (August 26) that one of the most important channels of the Department of Defense is to work with Australians to build a rare earth production line that meets the US Department of Defense and others. The needs of the allies.
Lord said: The most challenging issue is how to process rare earths and how to make this rare earth production line work, because China often practices digging rare earths around the world and then transporting them back to China for processing.
According to statistics from the US Geological Survey, in 2017, 80% of the US imports of rare earth from the world were imported from China. China’s rare earth production accounts for 81% of the world’s production.
What is the role of rare earths? In the US military, jet engines require rare earths, satellites and missile defense systems also require rare earths. In addition, night vision instruments also require rare earths.
US Defense Department official Lord Rudd said that we care about whether the rare earth industry chain is fragile, especially when an opponent controls the supply chain of rare earths.
Earlier this year, China’s National Development and Reform Commission officials issued a warning to threaten to use strategic materials such as rare earths or mineral resources as a tool for trade war with the United States. The official also said: If anyone wants to use rare earth products exported from China as a tool to limit China’s development, then the Chinese people will be very upset.