Critical minerals are minerals that are important to the economy. A mineral’s criticality changes with time as society’s needs and supply shifts. Most critical minerals are metals that are essential to high-tech sectors. They include rare earth elements and metals such as platinum group elements, manganese, vanadium, molybdenum, cobalt, magnesium, gallium, tellurium and lithium.
An analysis conducted by S&P Global Market Intelligence has found the import of critical minerals into the United States remained relatively unchanged quarter over quarter but increased by almost 8% in the second quarter of this year, in comparison with 2020’s second quarter. The report found that in the first half of this year, the volume of critical minerals imported into the United States exceeded the 316,108 tons brought into the country in the first half of 2020 by more than 41,000 tons.
The U.S. Interior Department’s U.S. Geological Survey has compiled a list of critical minerals made up of more than 30 materials that are deemed to be important both to the economy as well as national security. These materials include aluminum, which is used in all sectors of the economy; rare earth metals used in electric vehicle motors and wind turbines as well as the ones used in magnets; graphite and manganese, which are both used in electric car batteries; along with other materials that are needed to construct clean-energy technologies.
According to the analytical firm, almost 42% of the critical minerals imported during this second quarter were sourced from South Africa, with China exporting another 7.8% of the minerals. Japan, Mexico and Gabon were among some of the other sources of critical minerals the United States imported.
The director of critical minerals strategy at Securing America’s Future Energy, Abigail Wulf, stated that the U.S. was dependent on various countries, and in particular China, for a number of the critical minerals it needs. Securing America’s Future Energy advocates for greater U.S. energy independence. Wulf added that of the 35 critical metals the U.S. Department of Interior has classified as necessary for both the economy and national security, the U.S. was fully import-reliant on at least 15 of them.
The Biden administration is currently focused on bringing clean-energy manufacturing to the country’s shores as well as boosting U.S. control of critical mineral supply chains. Industry experts believe this will help reduce reliance on other countries not only for processing capacity and infrastructure but also supplies.
It may not be easy for the country to become self-sufficient in all critical minerals in the foreseeable future, and that means producers such as Excellon Resources Inc. (TSX: EXN) (NYSE American: EXN) (FSE: E4X2) may continue to play a role in meeting the demand for such metals in the U.S.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Excellon Resources Inc. (TSX: EXN) (NYSE American: EXN) (FSE: E4X2) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/EXN
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