"The United States and Australia agreed to work together on strategic minerals exploration, extraction, processing and research, and development of rare earths and high performance metals to sustain the jobs of today and develop the jobs of tomorrow," the release said after their meeting on Friday.
US-Australian cooperation on such projects, the release added, "can open new worlds of technological development using materials that are lighter, more versatile, or more conductive to open up new manufacturing opportunities, in defense and aerospace, information technology, telecommunications, energy and medicine."
In December, Trump issued an executive order urging the private sector to increase exploration of critical minerals to reduce dependence on imports, improve national security, and enhance the technological superiority and readiness of US armed forces.
The New York Times reported in July, 2017 — citing government officials — that Trump was mulling plans to exploit Afghanistan’s $1 trillion in mineral wealth to help justify his decision to escalate US involvement in Afghanistan. The White House, the report added, hopes the development of Afghan minerals would boost the US industrial base and counter China’s dominance in rare earth elements.