Sunday, July 01, 2012
China Defends Curbs on Rare Earths while she can
China Defends Curbs on Rare Earths - ABC: China on Wednesday defended its export curbs on rare earths used in high-tech products as an environmental measure and rejected a World Trade Organization challenge by the United States, Europe and Japan. A Cabinet official rejected complaints Beijing is using the environment as an excuse to support fledgling Chinese producers of lightweight magnets and other rare earths products by limiting supplies to foreign rivals in violation of its free-trade pledges.
"The protection of the environment is never a pretext for gaining advantage or increasing economic returns," said Su Bo, a deputy industry minister, at a news conference. China has about 30 percent of rare earths deposits but accounts for more than 90 percent of production. Beijing alarmed global manufacturers by imposing export quotas in 2009. Yeah right China is worried about the environment, since when?
We gave China their rare earth mineral monopoly, like everything else they abused it, it will end soon!
Obama Blasts China in WTO Complaint, China Claims it Can't Stop Hoarding: The economic leadership of China is either brilliant or diabolical, depending on your perspective. The world's fastest growing economy is accelerating its high-tech efforts at a breakneck pace, thanks to heavy government subsidizing and a favorable regulatory atmosphere that gives domestic competitors advantages over their foreign peers. They better start while they have a market unless they are using it all on their rapidly growing and developing military. Regardless their edge will not last much longer!
Ever since we gave up our dominance of the critical rare minerals used in today's high tech equipment China has held a monopoly and held the high tech world predominantly Japan and the US hostage. Their dominance never should have been allowed and is about to end.
Japan finds rare earths in Pacific seabed: Japanese researchers say they have discovered vast deposits of rare earth minerals, used in many hi-tech appliances, in the seabed. The geologists estimate that there are about a 100bn tons of the rare elements in the mud of the Pacific Ocean floor. At present, China produces 97% of the world's rare earth metals. Analysts say the Pacific discovery could challenge China's dominance, if recovering the minerals from the seabed proves commercially viable.
Rare earth mine in US reopened: At one point, the majority of the world's rare earths were mined at the Mountain Pass facility. Then, in 1998, Molycorp halted chemical processing at the mine following an environmental disaster; radioactive wastewater flooded the nearby Ivanpah Dry Lake. At the same time, China was dramatically increasing its rare earth production.The resulting lower market prices forced Molycorp to close their mine in 2002. Although Molycorp has continued to extract metals from stockpiles of ore mined at Mountain Pass, China now produces between 96% and 99% of the world's total rare earth supply. The government carefully allocates supply to individual companies to support domestic electronics production. In 2009, they cut export quotas of rare earths from 50,000 to 30,000 tonnes, sending already-high prices on international markets even higher. Molycorp has been working for several years to begin mining for rare earths once again, to help wean US manufacturers off Chinese imports. This year, they will reopen the Mountain Pass mine, an operation they've aptly named "Project Phoenix."
Getting to this point, however, has been expensive -- about $1 billion so far -- and has required a lot of special environmental permits. In July 2010, Molycorp went public on the NYSE with an Initial Public Offering of $394 million. In December 2010, they secured permits to start building a mining and manufacturing center so they could resume mining light rare earth elements such as neodymium and europium. The next month, they started mining bastnaesite ore. in October 2011, Molycorp announced that they discovered a heavy rare earth deposit near their Mountain Pass facility and received permission to drill two months later. The heavy rare earths terbium, yttrium, and dysprosium are necessary for manufacturing wind turbines and solar cells, so the government has a particular interest in finding sources of those elements within the US.
Japanese scientists produce artificial palladium: The new alloy has properties similar to the rare metal palladium. Part of the platinum group of metals, palladium should not to be confused with the rare earth minerals (also known as rare earth metals), a collection of seventeen elements in the periodic table, namely scandium, yttrium, and the fifteen lanthanides. Although the platinum group of metals are distinct from the rare earth metals, they are still hard to come by due to their global distribution and concentration.
The properties of palladium and other platinum group metals account for their widespread use in electronics, manufacturing, medicine, hydrogen purification, chemical applications and groundwater treatment. Although the new alloy will be difficult to produce commercially, Kitagawa intends to use the production method to develop other alloys for use as alternative rare metals.
China is worried about the environment like a hole in the head gut they better make the most of the game while they can because the world is going around their rare earth monopoly. Japanese researchers say they have discovered vast deposits of rare earth minerals, used in many hi-tech appliances, in the seabed. The geologists estimate that there are about a 100bn tons of the rare elements in the mud of the Pacific Ocean floor. At present, China produces 97% of the world's rare earth metals. Analysts say the Pacific discovery could challenge China's dominance, if recovering the minerals from the seabed proves commercially viable.
The United States is also in the race in an old proven uranium mine in Alaska. Alaska's Billion dollar mountain: Eight mining companies had held claims on Bokan Mountain before McKenzie came, and all had closed. They were looking for uranium, and most cleared out before they ever sold an ounce of ore. Theirs was poor luck and poor timing. Based on a resource assessment performed for McKenzie’s company Ucore by Aurora Geosciences, Bokan may contain mineral deposits worth $6.5 billion. That figure is not for uranium, though, but a group of elements called rare earths. Rare earths are crucial to modern and developing technologies but were little discussed until a temporary embargo in 2010 by China, which produces about 97 percent of the world’s supply, sparked a global prospecting frenzy.
We must all stop playing these games at this point and like it or not "share" if we are to survive into the future. Sadly we know the powers to be are not smart enough to do that. We are already in severe trouble with the condition of the world environmentally and due to power struggles getting ready to erupt in the Middle East and make things horrifically worse in many regards.
If peace is truly the goal then try something unique and share the wealth. We need peace to succeed as a world into the 21st century not more and never ending war.