Rare Element Crafting Bill In Senate

The bipartisan bill, submitted to the US Senate, stipulates that defense industry companies will end their purchases of rare earths from China by 2026, and that the Department of Defense (Pentagon) will establish a permanent stockpile for strategic minerals.

The bill, presented by Arkansas Senator Republican Tom Cotton and Arizona Senator Democrat Mark Kelly, was the last of the steps taken to end China’s control of the industry.

The bill demands that companies from which the Pentagon purchases billions of dollars of warplanes, missiles, and other weapons stop relying on China to support the United States’ production of rare metals and basically leverage the ministry’s purchases.

China has dominated the industry for the last 30 years

Rare earth elements are made up of 17 metals that, after processing, are used to make magnets found in electric vehicles, weapons and electronic devices. The USA created this industry in World War II and military scientists developed the most widely used type of rare earth magnet. China, on the other hand, has come to control almost the entire industry in the last 30 years.

The USA, which has only one rare element mine, does not have the capacity to process these elements.

“Ending American dependence on China for rare earths extraction and processing is critical to building up the US defense and technology sectors,” Cotton told Reuters.

”Critical for defense and technology sectors”

“Ending the U.S. dependence on China for the extraction and processing of rare elements is critical to the U.S. defense and technology industries,” Senator Cotton told Reuters news agency.

Cotton, who is on the Senate’s Armed Forces and Intelligence committees, described China’s becoming a leader in global rare earth element production as “a simple policy choice made by the United States” and said he hopes the new policies will ease Beijing’s control in this sector.

The bill envisions regulating and perpetuating the Pentagon’s existing stockpile.

China is threatening

China, which stopped its rare element exports to Japan in 2010, has been making implicit threats that it may do the same to the USA from time to time.

However, the Pentagon is partially procuring the stock from China. This is a contradiction that Senate members hope will diminish over time.

Its production causes environmental pollution.

One of the reasons why the USA is moving away from rare element production is that this type of production pollutes the environment. Research is ongoing to make the process result in less environmental pollution.

Cotton said he had spoken to various departments of the government regarding the bill, but did not say whether he had spoken to President Joe Biden or the White House.

Most members of the emerging rare earths industry in the US praised the bill. However, some concerned defense industry companies are expected to continue to seek exemptions from China to purchase rare earths even after 2026.

The bill, which its supporters hope will be included in the Pentagon’s budget legislation later this year, does not offer direct support for American rare-element producers or processors.

Instead, it requires contract companies selling to the Pentagon to stop using Chinese rare earths within four years, and offers exemptions only in very rare cases.

Cotton said he hopes these terms will encourage more domestic production.