US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to reduce the increasing dependence on foreign countries for imports of critical minerals.
The development comes after the US Department of the Interior released a report that identified 23 minerals that are used in manufacturing products used by the US military.
Trump said: “This executive order will prioritise reducing the nation’s vulnerability to disruptions in our supply of critical minerals safely and responsibility for the benefit of the American people.
“The US must not remain reliant on foreign competitors like Russia and China for the critical minerals needed to keep our economy strong and our country safe.”
The order is aimed at identification of new sources of critical minerals and ensuring accessibility of data to mining companies.
Additionally, the order seeks to streamline the leasing and permitting process to improve the supply chain by accelerating production, as well as reprocessing and recycling of minerals at all levels.
US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said: “As both a former military commander and geologist, I know the very real national security risk of relying on foreign nations for the military’s needs to keep our soldiers and our homeland safe.”
Based on the report, the US is most dependent on China for critical minerals, importing at least 20 critical minerals from the country.
Earlier this month, a US appeals court upheld a ban imposed by the previous federal government on new mining claims around the Grand Canyon in Arizona.