INDUSTRY BULLETIN: US government’s critical minerals list includes lithium, rare earths and tin

May 24, 2018

Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. (“Avalon”) is pleased to share this recent announcement from the United States government on its list of 35 critical minerals that all have supply chain risk.  We note that lithium, rare earths and tin are on the list of 35 critical minerals, along with 10 others that Avalon has identified as additional opportunities on its four specialty minerals projects.

The critical minerals list, announced in the US Federal Register on May 18, 2018, finalized a draft of 35 minerals that was originally released in February in response to "A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals." The strategy noted that the United States is heavily reliant on imports of certain mineral commodities that are vital to the country's security and economic prosperity, hence a strategic vulnerability to adverse foreign government action, natural disaster and other events that can disrupt supply.

A ‘critical mineral’ is identified to be a non-fuel mineral or mineral material essential for national security (the supply chain of which is vulnerable to disruption) that serves an essential function in the manufacturing of a product, the absence of which would have significant consequences for the economy or national security.

The 35 mineral commodities deemed critical to the United States include:

  • lithium, which is used primarily for lithium ion batteries, but also in high strength glass;
  • rare earth elements, used in high strength magnets for electric vehicle motors and wind turbine generators; 
  • tin, used in solar panels, for solders in electronics and potentially also in lithium batteries.

Other critical minerals on the list that Avalon has identified as opportunities on its properties include indium, gallium, germanium, beryllium, cesium, hafnium, niobium, tantalum, rubidium and zirconium.

The list of critical minerals is labelled as ‘final,’ although it should not be considered permanent, as it will likely be updated periodically to reflect up-to-date data on supply, demand and concentration of production, as well as current policy priorities.

The US Department of the Interior notes that the list provides a starting point for developing a new Federal strategy and a continuing process to strengthen supply chains. They also acknowledge that of the 35 minerals deemed critical, 12 are by-products. Therefore, strategies to increase the domestic supply of these commodities must also consider the mining and processing of the host materials for enhanced recovery of these by-products.

The full list of the 35 critical elements, alphabetically, is included here: aluminum (bauxite), antimony, arsenic, barite, beryllium, bismuth, cesium, chromium, cobalt, fluorspar, gallium, germanium, graphite (natural), hafnium, helium, indium, lithium, magnesium, manganese, niobium, platinum group metals, potash, the rare earth elements group, rhenium, rubidium, scandium, strontium, tantalum, tellurium, tin, titanium, tungsten, uranium, vanadium and zirconium.

Avalon has several critical mineral properties in various stages of development, including:

  • Separation Rapids Lithium (Tantalum-Rubidium-Cesium)
  • East Kemptville Tin-Indium (Lithium-Gallium-Germanium)
  • Nechalacho Rare Earth Elements (Lithium-Beryllium-Gallium-Zirconium)
  • Lilypad Lakes Lithium-Tantalum-Cesium (Rubidium)

For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.AvalonAM.com; or, for questions or feedback, email Avalon at [email protected].

About Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. (TSX: AVL & OTCQX: AVLNF)
Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. is a Canadian mineral development company focused on technology metals and minerals. The Company has three advanced stage projects, all 100%-owned, providing investors with exposure to lithium, tin and indium, as well as rare earth elements, tantalum, niobium, and zirconium. Avalon is currently focusing on its Separation Rapids Lithium Project, Kenora, ON and its East Kemptville Tin-Indium Project, Yarmouth, NS. Social responsibility and environmental stewardship are corporate cornerstones.