Surging rare-earth production in China is presenting a new challenge to budding efforts in the US and elsewhere to undercut the Asian giant’s dominance in a market for exotic materials used in everything from smartphones to fighter jets.
China said this month it’s raising its annual mining quota for rare earths to 132,000 tons, 10 per cent above last year’s record high. It’s a move likely to weigh on global prices, dealing a blow to rivals including the US and Australia, countries that agreed just last week to jointly accelerate new projects in a push to diversify the supply chain.
If you’re reading this story on a smartphone, you probably have China to thank for it. The Asian nation generates about 70 per cent of mined rare earths and controls 90 per cent of a US$4 billion global market for materials used in magnets and motors that power phones, wind turbines, electric vehicles and military hardware.
(Image by OrnaW from PixaBay)