• CRITICAL MATERIALSOPEN Program Seeks to Prove Technology Capability for Global Critical Materials Market Transparency

    Transparency in critical materials markets is essential to ensuring readiness and to the national security of the United States. It’s also vital to protecting consumers and businesses from the economic costs that stem from supply chain disruptions. DARPA effort selects companies to develop technology for critical commodity pricing, supply, and demand forecasting.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSCritical Minerals in Africa: Strengthening Security, Supporting Development, and Reducing Conflict amid Geopolitical Competition

    US economic and national security depends on a reliable supply of critical minerals that underlie an array of products and services important to ever-changing modern economies. Yet for many critical minerals (e.g., cobalt, graphite, and manganese), the United States is heavily dependent on imports. Especially concerning is that the United States is at or near 100 percent reliant on “foreign entities of concern”—mainly the People’s Republic of China—for key critical minerals. Africa can play an important role in strengthening US critical minerals supply chain security.

  • MINERALSU.S. to Tap Domestic Lithium Supply Without Chinese Products

    By John Xie

    Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a record conditional loan of $2.26 billion to tap the largest known lithium reserves in North America. The loan is an important step in an effort by the U.S. government to reduce reliance on China for the metal used to make batteries.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSSouth Korea’s Demand for Critical Minerals

    By Bill Paterson

    Korea’s geostrategic situation feeds a sense of strategic and economic insecurity—it is close to an assertive China prepared to demonstrate displeasure by imposing costly economic coercion measures, while the ever-present threat from North Korea drives the south’s priorities for military resilience, including a hi-tech military industry.

  • METALSIndonesia Harnesses Chinese Capital and Innovation to Dominate World Nickel Production

    By David Uren

    Indonesia’s success in deploying Chinese capital and innovation to become the dominant force in the global nickel industry has been achieved in the face of concerted opposition from the European Union through the World Trade Organization.

  • METALSWill The EU Ban Russian Aluminum?

    By Rikard Jozwiak

    It is estimated that the European Union still imports the metal from Russia to the tune of 2.3 billion euros ($2.5 billion) per year. The bloc also exports various aluminum products to Russia, worth some 190 million euros. About 85 percent of Russia’s aluminum business — including the lucrative construction and automotive industries – are so far untouched by sanctions. EU member states want to change that.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSDoes Australia Have the Will to Develop the Next Critical Mineral at Scale?

    By Ian Satchwell

    The forces of demand driven by the global energy transition and supply limited by geopolitics are coalescing to make yet another mineral globally ‘critical’—uranium. Australia’s rich economic geology has endowed it with the world’s biggest uranium resources. Yet Australians have a long-term aversion to uranium mining.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSASPI’s Darwin Dialogue Will Seek a Way Forward for Critical Minerals

    By John Coyne and Henry Campbell

    Critical minerals including rare earth elements, lithium, and cobalt, play a crucial role in industries, from electronics and renewable energy to defense. Global critical minerals markets and supply chains remain overly concentrated on China as a singular destination and source affording Chinese companies overwhelming influence over the sector across multiple extraction and processing stages and giving the Chinese government undue leverage on its neighbors and strategic competitors.

  • INFRASTRUCTUREWood Is Making a Comeback in Construction

    By Mark Helzen Draper

    In the past 150 years, as cities and skyscrapers have boomed, wood has been eclipsed by newer materials such as concrete and steel. Experts say that we shouldn’t accept the dominance of the steel-and-concrete jungle just yet. Thanks to the work of engineers, our oldest building material is experiencing a revival — one that can even withstand earthquakes.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSIs the Southwest Too Dry for a Mining Boom?

    By Wyatt Myskow

    Critical minerals for the clean energy transition are abundant in the Southwest, but the dozens of mines proposed to access them will require vast sums of water, something in short supply in the desert.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSCentral Asia Key to Breaking China's Rare Earth Monopoly

    By Navbahor Imamova

    U.S. officials hoping to break China’s near monopoly on the production of rare earth elements needed for many cutting-edge technologies should engage the governments of Central Asia to develop high concentrations of REEs found in the region, says a new report.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSNorway the First in the World to Approve Seabed Mining. Is It a Good Idea?

    By Sølvi Normannsen

    The transition to a greener, renewable economy will require large amounts of minerals, and society has to get them from somewhere. Norwegian politicians have reached an agreement approving deep sea mining, in a proposal that has reaped both cheers and frustration from scientists and activists alike. Here’s what our scientists think.

  • CRITICAL MATERIALSRevolutionizing Resource Renewal: Scaling Up Sustainable Recycling for Critical Materials

    Permanent magnets, which retain magnetic properties even in the absence of an inducing field or current, are used extensively in clean energy and defense applications. Rare earths are challenging to access because they are scattered across Earth’s crust, yet they are key components in many modern technologies. Recycled rare earths can be used to make new permanent magnets, accelerate chemical reactions and improve the properties of metals when included as alloy components.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSAustralia Should Learn from Canada and Take a Truly Global Approach to Critical Minerals

    By Ian Satchwell

    Canada and Australia are key players in the global supply chain for critical minerals. Simultaneously the top two nations for receiving minerals investment and for providing minerals investment, they are perfectly placed to use critical minerals to facilitate the global energy transition, foster innovation and build their security capabilities.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSStrengthening Domestic Supply Chains for Critical Minerals

    The USGS is investing millions of dollars in strengthening domestic supply chains for mineral resources critical to every economic sector and every member of society. Central to this effort is a nationwide mapping effort for critical minerals.