• CHINA WATCHChina and Global Development of Critical Resources

    To what extent has China adhered to its pledge to not build new overseas coal power plants? What are the main concerns related to China’s ownership or control over power transmission and distribution companies in Latin America? What is the state of China’s deep- and distant-sea and seabed mining exploration activities, and to what extent does it use these activities for ulterior strategic purposes?

  • CRITICAL MINERALSFaster and More Efficient Computer Chips Thanks to Germanium

    Researchers have succeeded in making a new type of material usable for chip technology. This enables faster, more efficient computers and new types of quantum devices.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSVacuuming-Up Rare Metals from the Deep-Sea Floor

    At the bottom of the ocean lie lumps of valuable metals such as copper, manganese, nickel and cobalt - materials crucial to accelerating the energy transition. Researchers are working on a project called ‘Blue Harvesting,’ and they have designed and tested a new collector that can gather these nodules from the deep sea bottom with minimal disturbance to the natural environment.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSSearching for Critical Minerals at the Colorado-Wyoming Border

    The U.S. Geological Survey announced that, with substantial funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, it will invest about $2.8 million to collect a large swath of geophysical data focusing on critical-mineral resources along the Colorado-Wyoming border.

  • RARE EARTH ELEMENTSRare-Earth Processing Must Be a Strategic Priority for Australia

    By Brendan Nicholson

    There are well over 3,000 items of U.S. military equipment requiring rare earth elements (REEs), including crewed and uncrewed aircraft, satellites, nuclear weapons, missiles, surface warships and submarines, advanced radars and combat systems, and army vehicles such as tanks. REEs are also essential to green technology. China’s near global monopoly over the processing of these minerals is becoming increasingly worrisome.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSSearching for Critical Minerals

    The U.S. Geological Survey announced that, thanks to substantial funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, it will invest about $2.8 million to collect a large swath of geophysical data focusing on critical mineral resources in northeastern Washington State.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSMagnesium Market Highlights Continuing Fragility of Global Supply Chains

    By John Coyne

    Magnesium is a critical input for major and emerging economies’ economic and industrial development. It has diverse high-tech applications in a wide range of sectors, from renewable energy to aerospace, defense to transport, and telecommunications to agriculture. The problem is that for both industry and governments, magnesium supply chains are vulnerable to sudden disruptions.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSSimple Process Extracts Valuable Magnesium Salt from Seawater

    Magnesium has emerging sustainability-related applications, including in carbon capture, low-carbon cement, and potential next-generation batteries. These applications are bringing renewed attention to domestic magnesium production. A new flow-based method harvests a magnesium salt from Sequim seawater.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSHelping Alaska Map Critical Mineral Resources

    The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced that Alaska will receive more than $6.75 million to conduct geologic mapping, airborne geophysical surveying, and geochemical sampling in support of critical mineral resource studies in the state.

  • BATTERIESThe Electric Vehicle Boom Could Bring Lithium Mines Back to North Carolina

    By Blanca Begert

    Today, less than 1 percent of global lithium is mined in the United States, all from one mine in Nevada; the vast majority comes from Chile, Australia, and China.But as nations seek to cut emissions and transition to clean energy sources, demand for the metal is increasing, and the U.S. is looking to ramp up production within its borders.Mining companies are once again eyeing North Carolina as they seek to capitalize on the booming market for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage. Not all locals are happy about it.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSCritical Minerals Competition Uses AI to Accelerate Analytics

    The United States depends on a variety of raw, non-fuel materials dubbed “critical minerals” to manufacture products considered essential to national security. Increasing demand, coupled with limited domestic supply and increasing reliance on foreign companies to import these critical minerals, poses significant risks to the U.S. supply chain. DARPA is offering prizes for automating aspects of USGS critical mineral assessments.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSCalifornia Mining Firms Seek to Clean Up Lithium's Production Footprint

    By Paul Krantz

    Three large mining projects based in California’s “Lithium Valley” aim to recover lithium with minimal environmental impacts. They have the potential to simplify the global lithium supply chain.

  • RARE EARTH ELEMENTS (REEs)Doubts Grow Over Turkey's Discovery of Huge Rare Earths Deposits

    By Nik Martin

    Turkey has announced the world’s second-largest deposit of rare earth elements (REEs) — critical metals needed to build electric cars, wind turbines, weapon systems, among other things. But is the Turkish REE grade good enough, and are the deposits found large enough to allow Ankara to end China’s REEs dominance?

  • RARE EARTH ELEMENTS (REEs)Rare Earths in Australia Must Be About More Than Mining

    By John Coyne

    REEs are a group of 17 metals—15 elements from the lanthanide series and two chemically similar elements, scandium and yttrium. Each has unique properties vital for a range of commercial and defense technologies, including batteries, high-powered magnets and electronic equipment. China’s rare-earth production exceeds that of the world’s second-largest producer, the U.S., by more than 100,000 tons per year. The U.S. still relies on China for most rare-earth imports. In some cases, like heavy REE processing, China has 100 percent control of the market.

  • RARE EARTH ELEMENTS (REE)China’s Disinformation Campaign Against Rare Earth Processing Facilities

    China dominates the production and processing of rare-earth elements (REEs). In order to lessen this dependence on the critical minerals, the U.S. government has been supporting the development of U.S. REE sources. China has been trying to prevent this shift by launching a disinformation campaign: China’ intelligence services have created social media accounts of fake local environmentalists who spread disinformation to local communities about the REE facilities being built nearby.