US Military Says Now’s The Time To Start Mining Rare Earth Minerals At Home

It wants to reduce reliance on China for raw materials used in consumer and military technology.

By Alexandra HartDecember 13, 2019 7:30 am, ,

Rare earth minerals are key components in a variety of technological devices, from iPhones to military equipment. For decades, China has been the dominant source for these minerals, which made technology companies all over the world beholden to it. But thanks to the ongoing trade war with China, the U.S. military is looking for ways to get what it needs without having to rely on that country, including expanding rare earth mineral mining at home. Texas plans to help. 

Ernest Scheyder covers the U.S. rare earth mining industry for Reuters. Rare earth mineral mining actually started in the U.S. with the Manhattan Project and the development of the atomic bomb. But eventually, most of the mining went to China, and now the U.S. is trying to play catch-up. 

“China is definitely using its monopoly over the rare earth market to its advantage in its trade dispute with President Trump’s administration,” Scheyder says. “Rare earths have become a lot more popular now because they help electronics get smaller.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How rare earth minerals are used 

– Why the U.S. military wants to fund domestic rare earth mineral mining

– How Texas will contribute to the American rare earth mineral market

– Why this could be an opportunity for technology entrepreneurs


Written by Libby Cohen.