China Cuts Rare Earth Minerals Exports; Mine in California Reopens after 8 Years
Thursday, December 30, 2010
The United States can’t reopen its last operating rare-earth-minerals mine fast enough, now that China has again cut its exports of the highly valuable minerals. After slashing exports in October by 70% over the previous year, the Asian giant decided to trim quotas by 35% for exports in 2011.
The moves have left companies in Japan, the U.S. and in other countries reeling, because China controls 97% of the rare earth minerals market. The minerals are a necessary part of such things as smart-phones, hybrid cars, hard drives, air bags, anti-lock brakes and guided missiles.
Some relief may be on the horizon if Molycorp Minerals is able to reopen its mine in California’s Mojave Desert. The Mountain Pass mine shut down eight years ago, leaving the U.S. without any domestic source for rare earth minerals. The Chinese government tried to buy the mine in 2005, but was blocked by Congress.
Molycorp has raised $500 million since last July to upgrade its 1950s-era facilities at Mountain Pass. It continues to seek more financing.
The company hopes to produce 20,000 tons a year of nine of the 17 rare earths by mid-2012.
The Congressional Research Service estimates that the United States holds 13% of the world’s reserves of rare earth elements, but mines nothing. China has 36% of reserves, but is responsible for 97% of the world’s production. Another 19% of reserves are located in Russia.
China Cuts Export Quotas for Rare Earths by 35% (by Helen Sun, Bloomberg News)
Rare Earth Metals Mine Is Key to US Control over Hi-Tech Future (by Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian)
The Battle with China for Rare Earth Elements Continues (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
U.S. Mining Company Hopes to Break Chinese Monopoly of Rare Minerals (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
- Top Stories
- Unusual News
- Where is the Money Going?
- U.S. and the World
- Appointments and Resignations
- Latest News
- Four Banks Guilty of Currency Manipulation but, as Usual, No One’s Going to Jail
- Release of Warren Report on U.S. Labor Protection Failures Aims to Counter Obama Fast Track Authority for TPP Passage
- Millions Donated to Cancer Charities Paid for Online Dating, Caribbean Cruises, Hooters Meals and Victoria’s Secret Shopping
- West Virginia Court Allows Illegal Prescription Drug Addicts to Seek Damages from Healthcare Providers
- DEA Operatives Accused of Secretly Operating New Jersey Strip Club