• ARGUMENT: CRITICAL MINERALSThe U.S. Government Should Stockpile More Critical Minerals

    The 2022 National Defense Strategy describes China as America’s “most consequential strategic competitor for the coming decades.” Yet, Gregory Wischer and Jack Little write, the United States is unprepared to fight a major war against the Chinese. “A longer, more intense U.S.-Chinese conflict over Taiwan would expose even deeper cracks in the defense industrial base and undermine the U.S. military’s ability to defeat the Chinese military: The United States lacks sufficient stocks of critical minerals to support the defense industrial base, from nickel in superalloys for jet engines to rare earth elements in magnets for guided munitions,” they write.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSLarge Lithium Deposits Discovered in a Caldera on the Nevada-Oregon Border

    Geologists estimate that about 20 to 40 million tons of lithium metal – among the world’s largest deposits – are available in the McDermitt Caldera on the Nevada-Oregon border. “If you believe their back-of-the-envelope estimation, this is a very, very significant deposit of lithium,” says one expert. “It could change the dynamics of lithium globally, in terms of price, security of supply and geopolitics.”

  • CRITICAL MINERALSRefinery in Central Tennessee Could Break Chinese Chokehold on Two Critical Minerals

    By Natalie Liu

    A solution to potential shortages of two critical minerals used in making semiconductors and advanced military equipment — exports of which were restricted by China this month — may be lying in some waste storage ponds in central Tennessee.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSAn American View on U.S. Investment in Critical-Mineral Mining in Australia

    By Shubham Dwivedi and Gregory D. Wischer

    In May, the United States and Australia signed a compact which, among other things, aims to coordinate policies and investments to support the expansion and diversification of critical minerals supply chains. In this case, diversification basically equates to reducing dependence on China, in which various links in the critical-mineral supply chain are heavily concentrated.

  • INFRASTRUCTURECan We Use Plastic Waste to Build Roads, Buildings, and More?

    By Rob Jordan

    A new study examines the current status, challenges, and needs of recycling plastics in a circular economy, and examine the long-term durability and environmental costs of doing so for use in infrastructure. Stanford engineers Zhiye Li and Michael Lepech discuss the potential for reusing discarded plastic in infrastructure applications.

  • CHINA WATCHChina’s Gallium and Germanium Controls: What They Mean and What Could Happen Next

    By Gavin D. J. Harper

    From August, China is to restrict exports of gallium and germanium, two critical elements for making semiconductor chips. China dominates the supply of both elements. The restrictions look likely to lead to higher prices for gallium and germanium, as well as longer delivery times.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSOpportunities for Australia–ASEAN Collaboration on Critical Minerals

    By Hanh Nguyen

    Southeast Asia’s energy transition is coming to life as the development of green technologies accelerates across the region. Securing critical minerals will be crucial to this process, and Australia should work with Southeast Asia to realize their mutual goals in this area.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSWho Will Benefit from Australia’s Critical Minerals Strategy?

    By David Uren

    Critical mineral projects will be favored for Australian federal government loans under its new critical minerals strategy, but there are to be no tailored tax breaks. Nor are there any plans to make downstream processing a condition of mining or export approvals.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSRare Earth Elements in Turkey: Emerging Prospects

    By Abhishek Yadav

    Turkey discovered the world’s second-largest deposit of rare earth elements (REEs) in 2022, with an estimated reserve size of 694 million tons, making it the world’s second largest REEs deposit after China’s reserves of 800 million tons. China accounts for 60 percent of the worldwide REEs mined production, 85 percent of the world’s REEs processing capacity, and 90 percent share of the manufacturing of high-strength rare earth permanent magnets.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSBoosting Supply Chains by Recovering Valuable Materials from Water

    By Jared Sagoff

    Promoting national security and economic competitiveness will require America’s researchers to find new ways to obtain the materials that we need for many technologies. Traditional mining is fraught with challenges, while water, from the oceans to geothermal brines, is an underexplored resource for providing various materials.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSHow Much Cobalt Can Be Mined in the U.S.? Study Examines Mining Site in Idaho

    Demand for cobalt is projected to increase more than 500% by 2050. Roughly 70% of the cobalt mined globally is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and then processed in China. Experts note that despite a high projected need for cobalt, battery technologies that use other ingredients have been gaining attention and popularity, such as lithium-iron-phosphate batteries, also called LFPs.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSUsing AI to Find Rare Minerals

    A machine learning model can predict the locations of minerals on Earth—and potentially other planets—by taking advantage of patterns in mineral associations.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSThe Critical Minerals End-Game?

    By Susan Park

    To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there’s been a dramatic uptake of renewable energy, primarily solar and wind, with a transition to lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage. The transition relies on increasing the extraction of critical minerals for their production.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSMilitaries, Metals, and Mining

    By Fabian Villalobos and Morgan Bazilian

    The U.S. aerospace and defense industries need access to critical minerals. Securing these minerals today may be an even more-complex task than it was during the cold war: the task requires more than deploying audacious subterfuge, as the CIA did in the 1960s to get titanium out of the Soviet Union. These minerals are now very much in the public eye, and they are also needed for the clean energy technologies that will help combat climate change.

  • CRITICAL MINERALSSearching for Critical Minerals in New Mexico, Utah

    The U.S. Geological Survey will provide nearly $3.4 million to map critical-mineral resources in New Mexico in partnership with the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, and more than $6.6 million to map critical mineral resources in Utah, in partnership with the Utah Geological Survey.