Al Thibeault

Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Energy Engineering

First Advisor

Michael Mann


The global rare earth industry is in a period of transition. This transition, led by the Minerals Security Partnership (MSP), aims to ensure supply security for the rare earths needed to meet clean energy transition demands. Supply security requires two goals: first, in the near-term, re-establishing rare earth production and processing in the MSP nations, and second, in the long-term, finding new sources of competitive advantage to create long-term industry stability. Stimulus funding is essential to achieving the short-term goal; however, long-term industry stability requires a strategy to replace stimulus funding with private investment in a profitable industry. Government/industry collaboration to develop new sources of international competitive advantage is necessary to achieve this goal. Long-term industry stability is critically important, as the collapse of a re-established MSP industry would have severe consequences for the clean energy transition. Increasing supply security thus has two key challenges if the MSP is to achieve its aim. This work proposes an interdisciplinary method to study transition strategies that combine elements from systems engineering, technological systems innovation, and international competitive advantage theory. The method uses an exploratory hybrid dynamic simulation model to test various strategy options for meeting the two key challenges for achieving a successful transition. The findings suggest that the method has promise for examining the factors required to achieve a successful rare earth industry transition.