BLUF

Australia needs a consistent supply of rare earths; this includes extraction and the logistics chain that can deliver rare earths to where they are required.

Summary

  • REEs are a group of 17 metals. Each has unique properties vital for a range of commercial and defence technologies—e.g. an F-35 fighter carries about 420 kilograms of REEs.
  • China has monopolistic control of global REE supply chains and has shown it is willing to use this power to coerce and control other countries.
  • Japan, the US, and Australia have each sought to improve their supply-chain resilience. However, unilateral efforts do not appear adequate to secure alternative supply chains.
  • The Australian government needs to consider encouraging industry to move further along the REE value chain, possibly adjusting taxation to facilitate the extraction and delivery of rare earths.

    References

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    Source: Strategist (ASPI)