Strategic Minerals:

Extent of U.S. Reliance on South Africa

NSIAD-88-201: Published: Jun 22, 1988. Publicly Released: Jun 22, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information regarding U.S. dependence on South African strategic minerals.

GAO found that: (1) the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 prohibited U.S. imports of 10 strategic minerals from South Africa, unless there were no other reliable and secure suppliers and the minerals were essential for the U.S. economy or defense; (2) each of those 10 strategic minerals had some direct or indirect military application; (3) in 1987, the United States significantly depended on imports to supply the minerals; and (4) South Africa is a major world producer and contains a very large reserve of several of the strategic minerals. GAO also found that: (1) the United States increased imports of some strategic minerals from South Africa and decreased others between 1983 and 1987; (2) South Africa is the sole supplier to the United States of one of the strategic minerals; (3) alternative supply sources exist for all but two of the minerals; and (4) the cumulative direct economic cost of a U.S. embargo on South Africa for six of the minerals would total $9.25 billion for 1988 through 1992. In addition, GAO found that the Department of State is developing a program which considers substitution, conservation, alternative suppliers, and economic stockpiles and private inventories to reduce U.S. dependence on South African strategic minerals.

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