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China Expands Its Influence in the Supply of Critical Minerals

Decoupling from China’s growing renewable energy sector is proving easier said than done, as the country tightens its grip on this crucial and strategic industry.

Chinese producers have flooded markets with rare earth elements and battery metals such as lithium, leading to large price drops and making the continuity of their competitors’ operations unsustainable.

The United States, with the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022, took bold steps to promote domestic production of critical minerals, with the dual goals of supporting a rapid energy transition and decreasing U.S. dependence on China and Russia, two countries that the U.S. Department of Energy has labeled a “foreign entity of concern” (FEOC, for its acronym in English).

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, China accounts for 70% of global rare earth extraction and 90% of refined production.

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