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China using its rare Earth monopoly to squeeze the West

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posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 07:30 PM
All those green technologies the government is trying to force on us rely on rare Earth metals to produce power. Because rare Earth metals mining is very damaging to the environment, the Chinese are one of the few countries in the world willing to damage their environment in order to mine these precious minerals.

The Chinese have been restricting the supply of rare Earth mineral exports available to the West which has been driving up prices and forcing even more businesses to relocate within China where rare Earth minerals can be had very cheaply.

Tensions Build over Chinese Rare Earth Quotas

China’s recent announcement that it would further tighten its rare earths export quotas came as a surprise to trading partners, as the move came on the heels of a WTO decision finding that similar restrictions on raw materials violate trade rules. Meanwhile, China is still debating whether to appeal the raw materials ruling, as the deadline for appeal is 2 September 2011.

Last week, Beijing notified the quotas that would apply during the second half of 2011. While the annual amount keeps up with last year’s numbers, a new product - ferro-alloys - has been added to the list, effectively tightening the quotas.

“This is highly-disappointing,” said the EU Trade Spokesperson John Clancy. “The EU continues to encourage the Chinese authorities to revisit their export restriction policy to ensure there is full, fair predictable and non-discriminatory access to rare earth supplies as well as other raw materials for EU industries.”

Rare earths are elements needed in the high technology industry, such as for manufacturing wind turbines, mobile phones, or computers. China currently fulfils more than ninety percent of global demand for these elements; however, last year Beijing started to severely restrict its exports. The extraction of rare earth is highly complicated and polluting - one reason why most Western countries closed down their extraction plants in the nineties when China increased its production.

Rare Metal Blog

The Chinese are driving prices outside China through the roof forcing companies to relocate within their borders in order to be able to afford to stay in business.

The rising prices of rare earth metals have been no coincidence, however. China has purposely cut back on exports - by as much as 40 percent, according to some estimates - causing the prices to rise exponentially.

In China, however, prices are relatively low. That has led many companies to relocate factories to China in order to cut back on production costs.

China has used its monopoly on rare earth metals in the past to bully economic partners. Last October, it was revealed that the government was restricting exports of the metals to both the U.S. and Japan. Many believe the U.S. was targeted because of an investigation launched by the U.S. examining Chinese subsidies in clean energy technology.

By the end of October, the embargo had been lifted, but the point had been made.

Later, Chinese officials suggested that they would significantly lower their export quotas for the rare earth metals. Chinese officials said they planned to cut export quotas to the U.S. by as much as 30 percent this year, but later denied it.

Economy in Crisis

They are using their monopoly to push countries around who would dare question their authority, as if owning most of our debt wasn't enough leverage.

The effects on prices for products we use everyday and that we will need to create a "green" energy infrastructure have already skyrocketed due to China's manipulations.

Rare earth prices soar as China stocks up

Financial Times

It seems awful convenient that Congress is continuing on with the light-bulb ban as China continues to manipulate the market to make prices soar on fluorescent bulbs.

Luckily, it seems some countries are coming to their senses and are beginning to allow mining of rare Earth minerals outside China but, China will maintain their monopoly while those efforts get up and running.

Manufacturers looking elsewhere for rare earths

Meanwhile, manufacturers in Europe, Japan, and the US are preparing themselves for a lengthy diplomatic process by searching for alternative sources of rare earths. In bilateral talks in the German city of Hanover on Monday and Tuesday of this week, Russia agreed to allow Germany to access its rare earth deposits. Germany, as a high tech producer with no own rare earth sources, is highly dependent on generating access to other sources.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov told reporters that “we are ready to grant an opportunity for German companies to actively participate in the extraction of rare earth metals, which are used in automotive and agricultural machinery production, so that they could build these enterprises in Russia.”

In addition, Australian national newspaper The Australian reports that Germany’s high-tech giant Siemens has signed a letter of intent with Australian miner Lynas to establish a joint magnet plant to supply European wind farms. Neodymium-based rare-earth magnets are needed in wind turbine generators and other energy-efficient drivers.

The joint venture could choose to establish a plant for rare earth extraction in Malaysia, as Lynas is already building a rare earths plant in the country.

Rare Metals Blog

I even read an article that says there are rare Earth minerals in California but, I highly doubt they will ever be tapped with the envoro-wackos in charge there because of the damage mining those minerals will do to the environment.

Makes you wonder how "green" those new energy technologies really are if mining the minerals necessary to make them causes such environmental havoc.

posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 07:37 PM
Its their land, they can do what they want. USA needs to learn that they dont own the Earth.

posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 07:40 PM
No worries, canada has tons of those so called precious metals, just giver it some time, we will stop protecting the precious land and dig dig dig so we can make sure that wal mart has tons of crap to stll sell for cheap.

posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 07:58 PM
Chinas figuring out when you start putting all these people from the country into cities they need refrigerators, microwaves,Electronics........that all require metals to produce.They already have a demand greater than outside of their country so it's gonna cost more.

posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 08:10 PM
sorry I am unprepared without a link but I think japan just came out recently and said they have found a cournecopia of this "precious" stuff. Screw china let them destroy their land lol

posted on Jul, 28 2011 @ 09:10 PM
I just heard about this the other day when one of the suppliers for my work sent out an E-mail warning about price increases coming soon because of China's rare Earth hoarding. They warned that prices would jump 50% or even more for some products.

We put in an order to stock up on fluorescent bulbs before the price hikes take effect.

We checked the news first to make sure this was legit and not just a clever marketing scheme to get us to buy more stuff.

With the push all over the world to convert to "green" energy, it sure looks like China is playing its hand to suck the rest of the world dry.

We have no one to blame for ourselves; it seems that the only thing stopping us from digging this stuff up in our own back yards is the environmental impact. If the prices keep rising the way they are, it won't be long before it becomes economically sound to destroy our local environment to build "green" power and save ourselves from global warming.

posted on Jul, 29 2011 @ 10:10 AM

Originally posted by zionistsareterrorists
Its their land, they can do what they want. USA needs to learn that they dont own the Earth.

That is true, they have the right to do what they want with their own land.

What bothers me is how all the global warming propagandists have put us at the mercy of the Chinese this way. They won't let us dig up this stuff in our own back yard and they demand that we switch to "green" energy which requires the use of rare earth minerals.

Sometimes I wonder if it isn't a plot to put us all further in debt to China.

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