The US government is directly reaching out to rare earths and other vital mineral producers outside China to try to secure supplies.

Reuters has reported that the US Department of Defence is in talks with Malawi’s Mkango Resources and others around the globe about finding a diversified range of minerals it deems vital to national security.

READ: Trump administration provides mining boost amid rare earths imbroglio

“We are looking for any source of supply outside China. We want diversity. We don’t want a single-source producer,” Reuters quoted Jason Nie, a material engineer with the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), as saying.

The DLA stores and ships a lot of the Pentagon’s supplies, which ranges from minerals to airplane parts.

Nie said that the agency was also helping introduce rare earth project proponents in the US with potential financiers.

“We can make connections,” he said.

The news agency said that for the current 2019 fiscal year, the DLA expects to buy rare earths on the open market (up to a maximum 416 tonnes), lithium ion battery precursors (0.02 tonnes) and tin (40 tonnes), among other strategic minerals.

The move to talk directly to foreign mineral project proponents comes as the US government moves to secure more vital minerals.

Measures include undertaking a review of permitting processes in the US, a new round of geological surveys on US land to give miners more data, and a boost to R&D spending within the minerals sector.