Race for Rare-Earth Metals
"The U.S. has plenty of the metals that are critical to many green-energy technologies, but engineering and R&D expertise have moved overseas."
"China is not the only country with significant reserves of these valuable materials; in fact, the U.S. was their primary producer until the 1990s, when the Chinese began undercutting the Americans on cost. Now companies in the U.S. and Australia are ramping up production at two rich sites for rare earths, but the process will take years. Getting from rocks to the pure metals and alloys required for manufacturing requires several steps that U.S. companies no longer have the infrastructure or the intellectual property to perform. Contrary to their name, rare-earth metals are abundant in the Earth's crust, and significant reserves are concentrated in the United States, Australia, Brazil, and other countries."