The US government is stepping up efforts to break China’s dominance over supplies of critical minerals for a range of modern life’s aspects, including electric vehicles (EVs), green technologies and military applications by launching a plan to boost lithium, cobalt and rare earths mining across the globe.
The Energy Resource Governance Initiative (ERGI) initiative, announced in June, so far involves Australia, Botswana, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia, the Philippines and Zambia.
The scheme seeks to promote responsible mining of 15 minerals expected to be in high demand as the adoption of technologies such as EVs, battery storage and wind turbines continue to rise.
“We want to ensure that these important mineral commodities remain free from international coercion and control,” US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said in a meeting held on Thursday at the United Nations General Assembly.
“The work that we’re doing here is absolutely essential – it’s essential to ensuring secure and reliable energy supplies for every nation,” he noted.
Pompeo said the Trump administration will also work on bilateral agreements, such as the one it recently signed with Canada, aimed at strengthening cooperation on critical minerals.
Washington has also gained the support of Australia, which has committed to facilitate potential joint ventures to improve rare earth processing capacity and reduce reliance on Chinese rare earths.
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