China Controls 95% of World's Trade in Rare Minerals

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Yet more evidence that we’re screwed….

China recently developed its first stealth fighter jet, the J-20


China creates rare earth strategic reserves
Breitbart – Feb 8, 2011

China is building up strategic reserves of rare earth metals in a move that could give it better control over the resource so indispensable to high tech products, the Wall Street Journal reported. Storage facilities have been built in recent months in the northern region of Inner Mongolia with the capacity to hold more than the 39,813 tonnes of the metals China exported last year, the paper said. But details of the strategic reserves have not been made public, it added on Monday.
China controls about 95 percent of the global trade for the 17 minerals that collectively make up the rare earth metals market.
The metals, prized for their special chemical or electromagnetic properties, are used in making mobile phones, batteries for hybrid cars, wind turbines, flat-screen televisions and other high tech products.
According to a report issued by the US Geological Survey in November, about 36 percent of the world’s reserves of the metals are in China.
With the prices of rare earth metals rising on average by about 130 percent last year, mining companies in countries such as Australia have stepped up efforts to extract the minerals.  But according to the Wall Street Journal, a new mine could take a decade to develop, so the processing of rare earth elements will remain concentrated in China for years. Last month, China brought 11 rare earth mines under state control as Beijing consolidated the industry — a move analysts said could drive up prices of the elements.  In December, China also tightened control over the metals by slashing quotas for overseas shipments by some 35 percent for the first half of 2011, as well as hiking export taxes.An association regrouping China’s top 90 companies dealing in the extraction and processing of rare earth will also be formed and begin operating by May, a report in the Huaxia Times said late last month.
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0 responses to “China Controls 95% of World's Trade in Rare Minerals

  1. We need to be very careful when interpreting China’s moves on these resources. Firstly, China cannot help but have them as they were there since the Creation. It’s not as if China has taken them from another nation.
    Secondly, because US and other nations moved so much first-order manufacturing to China for cheap labour, China now needs these to perform what these firms expect. Thirdly, China extracted these in an incredibly labourious, polluting way, none of which would be tolerated or accepted by other nations.
    China simply said she will retain what she must to fulfill her obligations, and can only ship the surplus from that. Any other nation would do the same, unless it wished to suicide economically.
    Finally, there are rare metal reserves in other countries, including the USofA and Canada. These will now be developed because the market price is high enough to allow non- or lesser-polluting extraction in those countries. This is a short-term hitch only. To assist in faster development of these resources in our nations, you can invest in those firms about to start production and the active exploration companies. I did, and it has paid me well!

    • Joseph,
      What are the names of some of these firms?

      • These are metals that are related, found grouped in the Periodic Table of the Elements. They are used in relatively minute amounts to improve other metals and materials, never on their sole utility. As far as use goes, they can be found in every cell phone, every computer, all hybrid cars, all micro-technological gadgets, and more applications are devised daily. Among the formerly US or Canada-based firms now having their products made in China and using these materials are the usual suspects: Dell, Apple, Microsoft, Motorola, GE, AT&T, Nortel, etc., etc.
        The decision was made after WW2 to break the US trade unions and find cheaper labour sources, so US firms began to depart for ever-cheaper labour, starting w/the Mexican border towns created just for this exodus [see _]. Firms from Smith-Corona to Levi Strauss led this new exodus, along w/the auto companies, starting w/parts, then body pieces, and finally assembly of entire cars. After twenty years the uppity Mexicans wanted better wages and working conditions, so US capital departed and went to China: Japan had become too expensive long ago. In fact, the major Japanese firms did the same: look on the back of your Nippon-branded TV, DVD players, audio systems, and Welcome to “Made in China”!
        Finally, we now have rumblings in China for better wages and working conditions, so nouveau Chinese capitalists now depart to Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia, where the labour is less than at home. This is the “race to the bottom” so famously depicted by some economists as “a Good Thing”. I wonder how they’d feel if they were replaced by economists turned out at half the cost by Japan? Likely no longer such a good thing.
        It has now become clearer, however, that cheap labour by itself is not the panacea once hoped for, as productivity is vastly more improved through better educated workers and more diffused learning of all kinds through all of society, rather than ever-elusive lower-cost ghosts of labour past.
        All best, always,

  2. My neighbors back in 1990s were Christians from India of Tibetan ancestory. They told me that China will never “Free Tibet” due to the mineral wealth.

    • Yes, this has considerable truth in it, as I understand from reading history. And now we’ve recently heard from the Pentagon that “vast mineral wealth has been discovered” throughout Afghanistan. In truth, these minerals have been known for more than a century from British, German, and US explorations. The Romans, and other folk prized the lapis lazuli stone from there [], for more than 5,000 years.
      The Afghanis have always had their peculiar culture, which they guard fiercely. It will be a good day when we’re out of that Hell on Earth and leave them to their own devises, as distasteful as many are to us.
      Even though my Meeting for Worship sends money to sponsor a school for girls, I wonder what will happen to them when our troops leave. The girls may be better off, but I doubt it, for ignorance and rough ways are profound in that part of the world, and the locals seem to prefer it that way. A truly sad, even pathetic situation. I knew it was pointless when the Taliban idiots blew up the giant statues of Buddha, the ultimate peace symbol!


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