Newspapers report almost daily on international tensions around ‘strategic’ or ‘critical’ minerals such as rare earth elements. The temporary freeze of rare earth exports from China to Japan in late 2010 in retaliation of the capture of a Chinese captain is but one example of the strategic use of non-fuel minerals in international relations today. Ensuring and safeguarding access to rare earths and other strategic mineral resources is quickly emerging as a strategic policy priority. A number of states are designing and implementing new policies aimed at increasing material security. By analyzing the strategic mineral policies of three countries, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan, this report provides an insight into the emerging dynamic of securing economic interests.
Rob Weterings is team leader sustainability within Strategy and Change.
Rem Korteweg is a strategic analyst at HCSS where he focuses on transatlantic relations and geostrategic security issues. He is a member of the Peace & Security Committee of the Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV).