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How China's "Rare Earth" Weapon Went From Boom To Bust

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posted on Nov, 3 2014 @ 08:04 PM
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During a maritime border dispute in September 2010, Japan detained the captain of a Chinese fishing trawler, which had collided with two Japanese coast guard vessels. China responded by announcing that it would halt all shipments of rare earth elements to Japan, which used the imported metals in several high-tech industries—notably, magnets that Japan sold abroad or used for making consumer products, such as the Toyota Prius.

Japan immediately released the Chinese fishing captain. The New York Times declared that it was a "humiliating retreat" for Tokyo.

...

What the Chinese government says and what Chinese companies do are often two different things. Chinese producers found various loopholes to evade the embargo on Japan. For instance, they were able to export REE that were combined with small amounts of other alloys. And smuggling in China is rampant, with small mining companies, sometimes assisted by crime networks, illegally exporting as much as 20,000 to 30,000 tons of REE per year. The central government in Beijing, beset with other pressing issues, has not made a concerted effort to crack down on this problem.

Compare that with the fact that only a small amount of REE are required for consumer products—roughly a kilogram of neodymium for each Toyota Prius and a few grams in each cell phone. It would take a long time for an embargo to have an effect, especially when a hefty amount of rare earths are still being exported.


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So this economic weapon has been neutralized for now, but what happens if China tries something similar with us? Would we go to war over REE?
edit on 3-11-2014 by RockerDom because: typo




posted on Nov, 3 2014 @ 08:31 PM
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a reply to: RockerDom


So this economic weapon has been neutralized for now, but what happens if China tries something similar with us? Would we go to war over REE?

No, the US state department would start sanctions, a media campaign that calls for regime change with catchy slogans like, Wang must go!

The Chinese would be so sad that their economy would shrivel and all the leaders would flee china for Tibet and become monks. Then corporations could just take all their resources and nobody would stop them.



posted on Nov, 3 2014 @ 09:11 PM
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a reply to: RockerDom

Not to mention we are discovering them in other places like north korea and Afghanistan.



posted on Nov, 3 2014 @ 10:20 PM
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There aren't any resources in China that aren't available elsewhere on the planet even if they are in Afghanistan or under several thousand meters of ocean bed. As soon as China puts an export embargo on that product that raises the prices, and that price raise makes the re-opening of old mines profitable again.



posted on Nov, 3 2014 @ 10:26 PM
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a reply to: RockerDom

Because of what China has done everyone is mining Rare Earth again. Rare Earth is not rare, it's actually quite common. China just made it unprofitable to mine. Then they made it profitable again after they were the monopoly, so China is not the only game in town again.



posted on Nov, 11 2014 @ 05:59 PM
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originally posted by: tavi45
a reply to: RockerDom

Not to mention we are discovering them in other places like north korea and Afghanistan.


Discovery is not the problem. Production and refining is. This isn't like oil. The reason everything moved to China is because the mining & refining is environmentally hazardous and in other countries, people really don't like getting poisoned but in China, the renmibi triumphs over all.

By the way, the rest of the world didn't do anything to neutralize the government's economic weapon. The greed of Chinese 'entrepreneurs' did it for them. High value, small volume, easily hidden in exports.... sounds like a typical white powder market, hmm?

There's no way they'll be produced in Afghanistan---any plant which takes a billion $ and makes a cash business in a formal sector & pays taxes will be bombed by jihadis.

North Korea----who would invest there when the Dear Leader could get a pimple and have any foreign manager executed because he's in a bad mood?
edit on 11-11-2014 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)

edit on 11-11-2014 by mbkennel because: (no reason given)




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