China Cuts Off World's Rare Earth Metal Supply
October 21, 2011 12:40 AM
comment(s) - last by
The hand giveth, the hand taketh away
China only has about 30 percent of the world's rare earth metal deposits, but thanks to clever planning it today
controls 97 percent of the world's production of these scarce resources
. Deposits of this family of 17 elements --
vital to power electronics
found in televisions, smart phones, electric vehicles, and a variety of other devices -- are found in California, Canada, Australia, and Russia, but it will take years to bring them online.
In short the world is
at China's mercy
for now when it comes to rare earth supply. And China's biggest rare earth metal producer -- the Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (Group) has announced that it is severing shipments to the U.S., Japan, and Europe for one month in an attempt to artificially inflate prices.
Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth also plans to buy rare earth metals in an attempt to further move prices upward. The company already controls 60 percent of China's rare earth production, thanks to the Chinese government's decision to merge 35 other local companies into the Inner Mongolia business, or fade them out.
China controls 97 percent of the world's rare earth metal production.
[Source: Wikimedia Commons]
While the Sichuan province in the southwest and Shandong in the east produce significant amounts of rare earth as well, the Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Group's decision should be enough to move prices significantly.
Doing so will benefit China in a couple ways. First, prices will almost certainly go up, reverse a downward slide. Lynas Corp., an Australian rare earth producer reveals that since June the price of neodymium oxide has declined 34 percent to $157 per kilogram, while europium oxide is down 35 percent at $2,904 per kilogram.
Sun Fan, a rare earth analyst for Goldstate Securities in the southern city of Shenzhen comments in a
, "The impact on the market supply will be substantial. The dual measures of suspension and purchase will offer support for the rare earth prices and make the prices gradually pick up in the future."
Aside from raising prices higher, the pause in production will allow China to try to kick start its efforts to produce locally produce magnets. When it comes to the production of the magnets used in the electric motors of hybrid and electric vehicles, typically the biggest profit is not realized at a commodity level, but at a magnet producer level. Thus in the past foreign nations like the U.S. and Japan have pocketed the biggest profits. China
hopes to change that
China hopes to supplant its U.S. and Asian rivals as the main producer of electric motor magnets, by choking resource supply to its foreign competitors. [Source: ThinkGeek]
China's Ministry of Land and Resources in September bragged that rare earth metals were the nation's "21st century treasure trove of new materials." It argued that exports should be tightened, choking foreign supply and favoring Chinese manufacturers.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
10/21/2011 5:20:17 AM
next thing you know we'll be sailing a couple of aircraft carrier battle groups over...
RE: Future Iraq?
10/21/2011 9:51:02 AM
...no need. Although we are in debt to them, the risk is all theirs. Sanctions, not paying the debt, change in trade policy, etc would decimate the country economically.
More like they would send a couple battle groups our way.
RE: Future Iraq?
10/22/2011 1:31:37 AM
"Although we are in debt to them, the risk is all theirs. Sanctions, not paying the debt....."
Do you realise US needs to keep getting new loans to pay for existing debt's interest AND to pay for current expense?
Go ahead and play with fire, just try not to pay the debt and see how you can borrow money in the future.
"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
China's "Rare Earth" Cuts Threaten Electronics, Power, and Auto Industries
December 30, 2010, 12:32 PM
China Quietly Looks to Strangle U.S., Japanese EV Production
October 21, 2010, 11:00 AM
China's Stranglehold on Rare Earth Metals Could Choke EV, Hybrids
April 30, 2010, 11:41 AM
Hybrids, EVs More Dangerous to U.S. Security Than Foreign Oil, Says Expert
April 19, 2010, 11:31 AM
BMW Concept X5 eDrive Uses Plug-In Hybrid Tech
April 14, 2014, 9:03 AM
GM Invests $449 Million USD in Future Electric Vehicles, Batteries
April 9, 2014, 2:27 PM
Bentley Shows Off Plug-in Hybrid Concept Destined for '17 SUV Project
April 9, 2014, 8:53 AM
Microsoft Brings Live Tiles to Infotainment Systems with "Windows in the Car" Concept
April 7, 2014, 2:38 PM
Tesla Wants Its Raw Materials for Gigafactory to Come From North America
April 2, 2014, 9:19 AM
NHTSA Proposes Legislation Requiring Backup Cameras on All Light Vehicles
March 31, 2014, 5:00 PM
Most Popular Articles
Cities to Carpoolers: Sharing Your Car is Illegal, We Will Seize Your Cars
April 4, 2014, 9:17 PM
Taiwan's AOU Claims to Have World's Highest-Res. OLED Smartphone Display
April 11, 2014, 1:44 PM
Navy Prepares for Historic First Live Test of a Rail Gun at Sea in 2016
April 9, 2014, 2:06 PM
It's Very Likely Neanderthals and Humans Had Sex, Produced Offspring
April 10, 2014, 8:40 PM
Cops at Historically Troubled LAPD are Sabotaging Digital Recording Devices
April 9, 2014, 11:10 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information