Pentagon plans to increase its reserves of rare minerals, cobalt and lithium to reduce its long-term dependence on China, the sector’s largest supplier for the past 30 years, according to two unnamed Reuters sources.
The new storage plan is due to be announced next week, almost a year after President Joseph Biden ordered a review of the supply chain for these ores.
Rare minerals, cobalt and lithium are used in the production of next-generation weapons, Lockheed Martin fighter jets and Raytheon Technologies Corporation precision-guided ammunition.
Lithium is a key component of electric vehicle batteries and is crucial to the Pentagon’s plan to move its 170,000 non-tactical vehicles to a no-emission mode.
The defense, energy and state secretariats, which sources said had drawn up a new supply plan, did not respond to a request for comment.
It is not yet known where the Pentagon would procure these ores to avoid China. The States has only one deposit of rare minerals and there is no possibility for their further processing.