(Reuters) – The Pentagon is rapidly assessing the uncommon US clay capability in a race to secure the stable supply of specialized material among the country's trade conflict with China, which controls the rare earth industry, according to government documents. who saw Reuters.
PHOTO FILE: Heavy excavation equipment mines at Rare Earth Earth Pass facility in Mountain Pass, California, 29 June 2015. REUTERS / David Becker
The pressure comes weeks after China exports rare streams to the USA, a group of 17 minerals used to build jets, tanks and a range of consumer electronics.
The Pagagon wants to describe plans to develop rare earth mines and US processing facilities, and asked manufacturers to specify their mineral requirements, according to the document, dated 27 June.
Responses are required by 31 July, a short timeframe highlighting the urgency of the Pentagon. The US government's fiscal year ends in September.
Air Force, which is part of the Pentagon and created the document, confirmed that the document exists. Pentagon headquarters did not respond to comments.
The responses will be reviewed by two government contractors, including Northrop Grumman Corp, who have not responded to requests for comments.
“The government wants to know how many of these minerals we might eventually produce, and how soon,” said Anthony Marchese, chairman of Texas Texas Mine Corps, who is working for the deposit Top round clay is developed on the western edge of the state.
Some miners declined to comment, however, when asked whether they would respond to the Pentagon, a sign of the sensitivity of the development of rare earth mines during the U.-China ongoing trade dispute.
The document does not give a direct commitment to loans, grants or other financial support for U asylum projects. However, the request from Pagagon is partly derived from the Defense Production Act (DPA), US law. The 1950s brings the action around Pentagon to acquire essential equipment for national defense.
Some form of financial assistance to industry is expected after the Pentagon has reviewed the responses, according to analysts and industry consultants.
Although only one third of the earth's rare-earth reserves in China, it accounts for 80% of US mineral imports because it controls almost all of the facilities to process the material, according to Geological Survey data.
It is unclear how much money the USA will spend to boost the American lowland industry because the DPA does not set a financial limit. The Pentagon letter in June notes that government investments are typically between $ 5 million and $ 20 million per project.
“The overall goal is to secure and secure a viable in-house provider (of rare clay) for the long term,” according to the nine page document.
The Air Force Research Laboratory, who drafted the application, stated that it needs information on U-rare earth. “Deficiencies, risks, and opportunities the soldiers might face”.
“There is no guarantee that any topic submitted will receive military support, Diana Carlin, program manager for the Air Force agent for delivery of the DPA program, received an email statement to Reuters.
James Litinsky, co-chair of MP Materials, who has mine Mine Mine in California, said the US needed a “sustainable model for Western supply of these minerals.” A major master would be a major producer to be leading in the global industry.
MP Materials, the only existing unusual soil facility, ship to China for processing and is subject to a 25% tariff since last month.
Some industry analysts asked the Pagagon to expand the scope of their studies and commit to government funding focusing on a rare earth-powered magnet and motor manufacturing, such as Chinese government.
“The US government does not even have a holistic approach to the whole supply chain, and this is a problem,” said Jack Lifton, an industry analyst with Technology Metals Research LLC, in an interview this week.
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The Pentagon's application takes a number of executive orders from President Donald Trump on strategic minerals, which he said is vital for national protection.
Legislation has been sponsored by a number of State Senators in recent weeks designed to reinforce lithium, rare earth and other strategic minerals production. On Thursday, Senator Marco Rubio, the Republican of Florida, introduced a bill to enable rare-earth producers to create cooperatives, avoiding anti-trust statutes.
None of the bills have yet been passed.
Patagonia also held talks with rare earth suppliers in Malawi and Burundi, and the department's officials told Reuters last month.
“There is an increasing urgency in the development of a rare earth supply chain in North America,” said Don Lay, chief executive of Medallion Resources Ltd, who said earlier this month that he was studying potential sites across North America. development of extraction plant for rare earth.
(Tmsnrt.rs/2I9fL5 GRAPHIC-INTERREIVE rare terrestrial production).
(Group prices of rare earth exports coming up after raples saber war link war: tmsnrt.rs/2Id5tQ2).
Reporting by Ernest Scheyder to Houston; Additional reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Edited by Amran Abocar and Matthew Lewis
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