What do smartphones, automobiles, solar panels, and national defense programs all have in common? They all depend on secure and reliable global supply chains for certain key minerals.
In February, the U.S. government updated its list of minerals that are designated as critical to the economy and national defense. The U.S. generally relies on imports for many of these 50 critical minerals. However, COVID-19, trade tensions with China, and the war in Ukraine have added urgency to the need to ensure safe and reliable supply chains for critical minerals.
Shortages in critical minerals made headlines last year after automakers reported supply chain disruptions for semiconductors, which rely on critical minerals, such as lithium and cobalt. As a result, fewer cars were available for purchase and many customers had to wait for automakers to catch up to their backlogs.
Dependence on critical minerals is expected to surge over the coming decades, especially as the world transitions to renewable energy technologies.