The U.S. government is ramping up efforts to secure minerals critical to modern technology but whose supply is dominated by China—a stranglehold that miners warn could take years to break.

In recent years, the U.S. and other Western nations have invested in projects and approved licenses to mine these resources—essential for the production of electric vehicles, cellphones and wind turbines—an effort these countries are now accelerating given how far they still trail China.

Last week President Trump signed an executive order declaring a national emergency and authorizing the use of the Defense Production Act to speed the development of mines. The law was used earlier this year to speed production of medical supplies amid the pandemic.

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