Canada, US to Reduce Dependence on China for Lithium and Other Rare Minerals

Canada is in talks with the US to seek ways for both to reduce their dependence on China for rare earth elements, key minerals for high-tech products

Canada US China Minerals

Canada is in talks with the United States to seek ways for both to reduce their dependence on China for rare earth elements, key minerals for high-tech products, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

He said that in his last meeting with US President Donald Trump, “I highlighted that Canada has many of the rare earth minerals that are so necessary for modern technology.”

Trudeau emphasised that Canada “is a solid ally” and can offer “a reliable supply” of rare earth minerals, many of which currently “come from China.”

It is in Canada’s interest, Trudeau said, “to ensure that we have reliable supplies of these important minerals for technologies and it is a conversation that our government is leading on.”

The remarks followed a report in the Globe and Mail newspaper that Canada and the United States are drafting plans to reduce their mutual dependence on China for rare earth minerals such as lithium, uranium, cesium, and cobalt.

China controls more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of those minerals used for key components in electric vehicle batteries, storage solutions, solar panels, wind generators, etc. It is also the world’s top producer and refiner of rare earth minerals.

As the US-China trade war heats up, Beijing has hinted that it could block exports of rare earth metals. The threat is not empty: in 2010 China had temporarily halted such exports to Japan during a territorial dispute.

Last year, adding to its wide range of conflicts with the US, China had questioned the US imposed safeguard duties on imports of crystalline silicon PV products before the World Trade Organization (WTO). China filed a formal complaint with the WTO regarding the 30 percent hike in the solar tariffs which is said to have favoured the US domestic solar producers in a very inappropriate way.

Canada and China are also going through an unprecedented rift in their relations following the December 2018 arrest in Vancouver of top Chinese telecom executive Meng Wanzhou of Huawei on a US warrant.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for