Taps Coogan – February 3rd, 2021
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The following chart, from Statista, shows China’s share of the rare earth mining market.
Rare earth metals are used in a wide range of high-tech, military, and aerospace applications. Until around 2010, the world’s supply of rare earths was totally dominated by China. China had used state support, tariffs, and subsidies to make production uneconomic abroad, bankrupting virtually all foreign mines and processing plants. China has begun threatening to cut off the US and others from access to rare earths.
However, in a rare piece of good news, the tide appears to be turning. Large mines in Australia, the US, and Myanmar have been opened in recent years, others are in the works, and processing plants are being planned in the US (who knows if they’ll be able to get environmental permits…), threatening to break China’s monopoly on the market for the first time in decades.
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