The United States is going further in its efforts to secure more vital metals, including rare earths, by teaming up with Canada and Australia in a formal alliance.

According to a Reuters report, the US State Department has outlined a plan to form an alliance to secure supplies of metals crucial to high-tech industries — such as lithium, copper, and cobalt.

The alliance will also reportedly seek to develop new sources of rare earths in the three countries.

“Over 80 percent of the global supply chain of rare earth elements is controlled by one country,” the State Department said in a fact sheet outlining the effort.

“Reliance on any one source increases the risk of supply disruptions.”

Under the plan, the US will share mining expertise with other countries to help them discover and develop their resources, and advise on management and governance frameworks to help ensure their industries are attractive to international investors.

It comes as the US government attempts to find new sources of vital metals by multiple means.

Earlier this month it emerged that the US government was actively talking to mining players in Africa about securing more rare earths.

It also outlined a broad-ranging plan to stimulate the discovery and mining of rare earths within its own borders.

While representatives from Canada and Australia did not respond to requests from comment, news of a formal mining alliance would bring the strategic importance of rare earths to a new level.

Rare earths have emerged in recent times as one of the key levers China could pull in the advent of a full-blown trade war with the US.

 

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