The Other National Emergency
The U.S. has another national emergency, and this time it’s in the mining sector, where presidential action is better late than never. China controls the bulk of the world’s rare earth’s metals, which are the key to winning a cold war that is - without question - about dominating the tech space. Prior to being hospitalized for COVID-19, Trump tapped into his executive power to authorize the Defense Production Act to hasten the development of mines in friendly jurisdictions that have known reserves of the metals America needs to achieve global tech dominance.
Everything… the future of technology, our energy transition, and even Big Oil’s increasingly urgent path to digitization, depends on these metals. Yet, the United States finds itself in a highly handicapped position of importing some 80% of the rare earth metals it needs from China.
And Beijing has used its media to send a clear message that more or less says that China is very aware that it’s holding all the cards here. China has already threatened to hold them, hostage, indicating last year as a trade war intensified that it might stop exporting them altogether, though the World Trade Organization has ruled that Beijing absolutely cannot limit the export of these metals.
The executive order failed to move the needle at all on the Rare Earths Monthly Metals Index (MMI) because the market has a short attention span…