By Alexander Panetta
The United States military has been quietly soliciting applications for Canadian mining projects that want American public funding through a major national security initiative.
It’s part of an increasingly urgent priority of the U.S. government: lessening dependence on China for critical minerals that are vital in everything from civilian goods such as electronics, cars and batteries, to weapons.
It illustrates how Canadian mining is becoming the nexus of a colossal geopolitical struggle. Ottawa just pushed Chinese state-owned companies out of the sector, and the U.S. is now considering moving public funding in.
The American military has a new pot of money at its disposal to help private companies inaugurate new mining projects; it’s for funding feasibility studies, plant renovations, battery-recycling and worker training.
This whirlwind of activity was prompted by a White House study last year warning that dependence on certain foreign-made products represents a national security risk to the U.S., and it cited semiconductors, batteries, medicines and 53 types of minerals.