ECONOMY

US, Australia to unveil plan Friday to improve rare earth mineral supply

(File photo: AFP)

US President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison are set to release a plan on Friday aimed at securing the supply of rare earth minerals, a senior administration official said, as concerns grow that China could cut off shipments of the prized commodities.

The plan will be unveiled during a state visit by Morrison to the White House, where space cooperation and plastic waste management will also be discussed, the official said on
Thursday.

“Both countries share an interest in making sure the global supply of rare earths is stable and secure," the official said.

The goal of the plan, he added, was to pool expertise and resources “to make sure there’s a stable and secure global market that’s not easily disrupted by shocks and outside influences,” the official added.

Rare earths are a group of 17 chemical elements used in everything from high-tech consumer electronics to military equipment.

Australia contains only 2.8 percent of the world’s rare earth reserves but accounts for more than half of the new projects in the global pipeline.

Rare earth minerals need to be processed after they are extracted from the ground. There is only one operational rare earths mine in the United States, although the country has no
processing facilities.

China is the world’s largest processor and producer of the minerals, accounting for more than 80 percent of global processing capacity.

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Last Update: Friday, 20 September 2019 KSA 07:54 - GMT 04:54
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