Rare Earth Elements, or REEs, are found in items we use every single day in the United States, but before they reach our products, they must go through China’s supply chain. There are 17 elements known as REEs. While rare is in the name, most are more abundant in the earth’s crust than silver or gold. It’s the process to mine and refine those minerals that makes the elements rare.
The administration has been pushing for increased U.S. production of Rare Earth Elements and other critical minerals, as part of its economic agenda. But for years, efforts like the complex separation process and battery manufacturing have been dominated by China.
“The issue is, is that we have very limited, if no capability any longer here in the United States,” Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration President Marc Le Vier said.