Act on strategic metals, say MPs

A House of Commons committee is arguing for a proactive approach to strategic metals, which are increasingly vital to energy, defence and other technologies. It must also look beyond rare earth metals.

Government should have a more proactive and hands-on approach to strategically important metals, MPs on the Commons Science and Technology Committee have concluded in their latest report.<sup>1</sup>

The metals covered in the report include the rare earths, the platinum group and others that have major technological uses such as antimony, chromium, lithium, magnesium, niobium, tantalum and tungsten.

The government has so far been too focused on the rare earths, the report says, perhaps because China, which produces 97% of the world’s supplies, recently imposed export restrictions. Rare earth metals, including scandium, yttrium, lanthanum, gadolinium and a host of others, are vital to hi-tech applications in transport, energy, defence and security.

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