The Open Price Exploration for National Security (OPEN) program aims to facilitate price, supply, and demand forecasts by developing technologies like machine learning models.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a research and development agency of the U.S. Department of Defense, is seeking ways to increase transparency in the critical minerals and raw materials markets. The Pentagon argues that issues regarding pricing and inaccurate supply and demand forecasts threaten the readiness of the department to respond to supply chain challenges, according to the press release published in October, which received little attention then, according to Reuters.
To address these issues, DARPA announced a partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey to facilitate the development of helpful technology. The Open Price Exploration for National Security (OPEN) program plans to analyze commercially and publicly available cost information to construct transparent structural price predictions and use advances in time series forecasting, economic modeling, and machine learning to create accurate and precise supply and demand forecasts. A presentation describing the program stated the project’s goal to “revolutionize the construction and dissemination of price, supply, and demand predictions and forecasts in critical materials markets,” Reuters added.
The OPEN press release added that critical materials producers and buyers may use the estimates OPEN publishes as a transparent information source. However, documents retrieved by Reuters clarify that the Pentagon’s efforts are “not intended to set an official U.S. government metals price or replace the London Metal Exchange (LME) and other futures markets.”
More on Artificial Intelligence and Critical Minerals: Using artificial intelligence in the field of critical minerals is not a novel occurrence. For example, Chinese scientists are tapping machine learning models to locate deposits of rare earths and other raw materials in the Himalayan region. Under a similar goal, DARPA and the U.S. Geological Survey teamed up in 2022 as well and utilized artificial intelligence to assess domestic critical minerals sources.