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Mongolia to deepen cooperation with US on rare earths: PM

WASHINGTON: Mongolia will deepen cooperation with Washington to mine rare earths, the country’s Prime Minister L. Oyun-Erdene said on a visit to Washington on Wednesday, but he warned that a “new Cold War” between the U.S. and China would harm the global economy.

Mongolia has extensive deposits of rare earths and copper, which are vital for high tech applications including defense equipment and for President Joe Biden’s efforts to electrify the auto market to help stave off climate change.

Oyun-Erdene spoke to Reuters after he met Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday and agreed to sign an “Open Skies” civil aviation agreement, among pledges of further economic cooperation.

“We have discussed our potential cooperation in mining rare earths, critical minerals, including copper,” said Oyun-Erdene, who spoke through a translator.

Cooperation with the United States, which he called Mongolia’s “important strategic third neighbor,” on rare earths and critical minerals was already underway, and would be deepened under a memorandum of understanding signed in June between his country’s ministry of mining and heavy industry and the U.S. State Department, he said.

Mongolia hopes to have good relations with its neighbour China, which controls most of the world’s rare earths deposits, as well as the US, but Oyun-Erdene warned that countries like his own, which is landlocked between China and Russia, would suffer if superpower competition boiled over.

“I fear that the new Cold War will be very different and (more) difficult from the first Cold War,” he said

– Reuters