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US, Canada sign deal to collaborate on critical minerals

The U.S. and Canada finalized their joint action plan to collaborate on critical minerals as part of efforts to boost the countries' supply chains and reduce reliance on China.

Canada's Department of Natural Resources, which operates as Natural Resources Canada, said Jan. 9 that the action plan will promote joint initiatives, including research and development cooperation, supply chain modeling and increased support for the industry.

Canada expects the partnership to attract mining investment in the country and spur job creation and economic growth in various downstream industries.

The deal follows a commitment by the U.S. to find ways to secure the supply chain for critical minerals, including uranium and rare earths, which are used in crucial sectors such as communication technology, aerospace, defense and clean technology.

In November 2019, the U.S. struck an agreement with Australia to work on critical minerals and rare earths projects.

Canada said it is an important supplier of 13 of the 35 minerals the U.S. deemed essential to economic and national security following a veiled threat from dominant supplier China to restrict rare earths exports amid the U.S.-China trade war.

Canada is the largest supplier of potash, indium, aluminum and tellurium to the U.S. and the second-largest supplier of niobium, tungsten and magnesium, according to the release. Canada is also said to supply about one-quarter of the United States' uranium demand.