The development of many new technologies, particularly those crucial to the global energy transition, is dependent on rare earth elements (REEs), which has set off a global race to acquire them. With China holding a near monopoly on refining and mining REEs, assertive Chinese foreign policy has accelerated the West’s desire to diversify its REE supply chains. Central Asia is key to that diversification.
While Central Asia is a growing area of focus for the United States, evaluations of global REE endowments have continued to neglect the region. Proactive Western investment in the discovery and mining of Central Asia’s REEs is a crucial opportunity to diversify global REE supply chains and to support regional integration, sovereignty, and economic freedom among the Central Asian states.
A new report from the International Tax and Investment Center’s Energy, Growth, and Security Program, “Leveraging Central Asia’s Rare Earth Elements for Economic Growth,” analyzes the state of REEs development in Central Asia and the geopolitical opportunities for the region through maximizing the development and export of its rare earth deposits. Investment in the development of REEs can help increase economic growth in Central Asia and break China’s rare earth dominance, while producing components essential to the green energy transition.
What are the most significant challenges facing Central Asian countries as they look to develop their rare earth element resources? How can the West work with Central Asian partners to increase exports and grow their economies?
The Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and the International Tax and Investment Center gathered the authors of the report to present its findings and a panel of experts to discuss how to leverage Central Asia’s rare earth elements for economic growth.
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 01/23/2024