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Mongolia to Strengthen Rare Earth Mining Cooperation with Washington

by Rahil M
0 comment

The Mongolian Prime Minister’s visit resulted in fruitful discussions with Vice President Kamala Harris, culminating in the agreement to sign an “Open Skies” civil aviation agreement, paving the way for further economic cooperation between the two nations. The prime minister’s visit also includes plans to meet with the U.S. space agency NASA and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

During a visit to Washington on Wednesday, Mongolia’s Prime Minister L. Oyun-Erdene expressed the country’s commitment to deepening cooperation with the United States in mining rare earths. He warned, however, that an escalating “new Cold War” between the U.S. and China could have adverse effects on the global economy.

Mongolia is home to extensive deposits of rare earths and copper, crucial resources for high-tech applications, including defense equipment and President Joe Biden’s efforts to promote electric vehicles for combatting climate change.

The Mongolian Prime Minister’s visit resulted in fruitful discussions with Vice President Kamala Harris, culminating in the agreement to sign an “Open Skies” civil aviation agreement, paving the way for further economic cooperation between the two nations. Oyun-Erdene emphasized the importance of Mongolia’s collaboration with the United States, labeling the US as Mongolia’s “important strategic third neighbor.”

He highlighted the ongoing cooperation between the two countries in mining rare earths and critical minerals, further boosted by a memorandum of understanding signed between Mongolia’s Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry and the US State Department in June.

Despite Mongolia’s desire to maintain good relations with both China, which controls a significant portion of the world’s rare earth deposits, and the U.S., Oyun-Erdene cautioned that landlocked countries like his own, positioned between China and Russia, would suffer if tensions between superpowers escalated.

He expressed concern over the potential challenges presented by the new Cold War, citing rapid technological advancements and global issues like climate change. Oyun-Erdene stressed the importance of major powers acting responsibly to prevent severe negative impacts on many nations worldwide, particularly on the international economy.

While in discussion with Tesla’s Chief Executive Elon Musk regarding potential investment and cooperation in the electric vehicle sector and space exploration, Oyun-Erdene clarified that a meeting with Musk would not occur during his current visit. He did, however, plan to travel to California to meet with Musk and other tech industry leaders at a later date, which remains to be scheduled.

Drawing attention to Musk’s interest in Mars colonization, Oyun-Erdene shared his discussions with the billionaire about the Gobi Desert, which boasts a similar environment to the red planet. He urged Musk to explore potential research opportunities in the region.

The prime minister’s visit also includes plans to meet with the U.S. space agency NASA and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. He emphasized the significance of the United States as Mongolia’s guiding polar star in its democratic journey, aiming to strengthen democratic values through discussions.

Oyun-Erdene also acknowledged the importance of Mongolia’s relationship with the United States on its democratic journey. Considering Mongolia’s proximity to Russia, the country has faced challenges stemming from the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. The inflation of goods, including mining explosives, has had significant impacts on Mongolia’s economy.

Against this backdrop, the Biden administration’s emphasis on strengthening ties with Asian countries as a counterbalance to China’s expanding influence and the burgeoning partnership between Beijing and Moscow, known as the “no limits” partnership. As Mongolia seeks to play a vital role in the global supply of rare earths and critical minerals, deeper cooperation with the United States offers both opportunities and challenges. Balancing regional relations and navigating the dynamics of superpower rivalry remain essential for Mongolia as it treads a careful path toward sustainable economic growth and international cooperation.

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