Rare earths are increasingly important for some high-tech products such as smartphones and hybrid cars. China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of rare earths, accounting for 90 per cent of the world’s supply of all rare earths. In 2011, China has been criticised for curbing rare earth exports, and in 2011 it exported 16,900 tonnes of rare earth, down 58 per cent from year ago. It consumed about 83,000 tonnes, against global demand of 110,000 tonnes in 2011, according to an industry estimate.
Controls on exports of two materials come in the face of US semiconductor restrictions, and may reflect fears ‘tech war’ will spread to increasingly scarce resources.
Rare earths included on list a day before new graphite export restrictions come into effect.
Malaysia’s move to grow its rare earth industry by deepening ties with Australian mining giant Lynas has fuelled more fears of environmental damage.
The Critical Raw Materials Act was proposed in March to ensure the EU’s access to a sustainable supply of raw materials crucial to the digital, aerospace and defence sectors, and the green energy push.
China has not invested enough in the exploration of strategic minerals, according to natural resources minister Wang Guanghua, with national security and self-reliance an increasing concern for Beijing.
China’s Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday asked exporters of rare earth metals and oxide products to report transactions, with importers of crude oil, iron ore, copper ore concentrates and potash fertiliser also asked to report orders and shipments.
Previously, Lynas was only allowed to import and process lanthanide concentrate which contains radioactive material until January 2024.
With export controls already put in place by the West over semiconductors and other necessary components for the development of its tech industry, China is making strides in finding other paths to keep up supplies of the minerals it needs to produce and innovate at scale.
The extension of Lynas’ license comes amid Malaysian concerns regarding radiation levels from the cracking and leaching operations during raw material processing.
During the stoppage, key personnel from the Malaysian plant will be deployed to assist with the start-up process of its rare-earths processing facility in Western Australia
First provincial-level high-quality development plan from China’s State Council for the Inner Mongolia autonomous region focuses on ecology, energy, strategic minerals and border security.
Scientists confirm the discovery of new type of niobium ore in world’s largest rare earth deposit.
State Department report on alleged damage Beijing’s influence operations inflict on America’s reputation overseas is latest cause for Washington alarm.
Madeleine King, Australia’s minister of resources, says EU needs to stop haggling and reach a fair trade agreement.
The US president’s trip is to focus on upgrading links between the two countries as Washington seeks to hedge against China-related risks.
Lynas’ CEO says she’s optimistic Malaysia can be persuaded to review its hardline position on operations that produce radioactive by-products.
The landlocked nation is dependent on goodwill from neighbours China and Russia to get critical minerals to the world market.
China scored 65 out of 100 in an assessment of countries’ preparedness to expand production of key minerals such as lithium, copper and graphite carried out by clean energy and commodity markets researcher BloombergNEF. That compares with Australia’s 92 and Canada’s 73.
Far beneath the shrinking inland Salton Sea are lithium reserves so large they could meet all US needs, but it remains to be seen if a battery industry can be developed.
China supplies EU 71 per cent of its gallium and 45 per cent of its germanium; analysis will determine which industries and member states are most vulnerable.
Beijing’s new restrictions on germanium and gallium exports ‘underscore the need to diversify supply chains’, US Commerce Department says.
US semiconductor wafer maker AXT said it would seek permits to keep exporting gallium and germanium substrate products from China, after Beijing abruptly imposed export controls on the metals.