A bill introduced by US Representative Mike Coffman has called for the establishment of the country’s first stockpile of rare earth minerals as part of a revival of the US’s rare earth minerals industry.
The bill states that rare earth minerals should be considered as strategic or critical to national security, according to Defense News.
It suggests that measures should be taken to reintroduce a strategic materials industry that is self-sufficient in the US domestic market with multiple sources of mining, processing, alloying and manufacturing.
China controls almost all the global supply and production of rare earth minerals, which are used to make crucial components in many US weapon systems.
The senator has suggested rare earth minerals should be purchased from China and stored in the national stockpile within one year of implementation of the legislation.
Molycorp Minerals, a US rare earths firm, said it aims to produce 20,000t of rare earth minerals by 2012.
The Department of Defense is carrying out several rare earth minerals studies, including one looking at rare earths in 24 weapons and another to examine the national security implications of China’s dominance of the global supply.