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strategic minerals explained: ukraine, the south caucasus, and central asia

Strategic Minerals Explained: Ukraine, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia

Image source: Goodwin Steel Castings

This is the first in a series of articles planned to provide a comprehensive overview on strategic minerals in Central Asia, the South Caucasus, and Ukraine.

America’s economic and political security depends upon a secure future supply of strategic minerals. With nearly every modern technology, from smartphones to jet engines to wind turbines, requiring the use of strategic minerals, the World Economic Forum has suggested they will be the new oil of the 21st century. Moreover, global appetite and scramble for strategic minerals is only increasing, with the International Energy Agency estimating that demand in the energy sector alone could triple by 2030. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) currently dominates the sector, controlling 60% of global production and 85% of processing capacity. Due to this growing monopoly and resulting reliance on the PRC, future U.S. access to strategic minerals is under threat. A potential solution to this challenge can be found in the largely unexploited natural resources of Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Ukraine. Aggressive pursuit of these strategic resources now could be the key to supplying the United States with the minerals it needs, while providing the broader Caspian region and Ukraine with global market reach and inclusion. Meaningful participation in the global strategic mineral supply chain for Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Ukraine would be a major step towards achieving regional economic sovereignty and the ability for those countries to reduce their own dependence on Russia and the PRC.

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