U.S. Called Vulnerable to Rare Earth Shortages

From the New York Times - HONG KONG — The United States is too reliant on China for minerals crucial to new clean energy technologies, making the American economy vulnerable to shortages of materials needed for a range of green products — from compact fluorescent light bulbs to electric cars to giant wind turbines. So warns a detailed report to be released on Wednesday morning by the United States Energy Department. The report, which predicts that it could take 15 years to break American dependence on Chinese supplies, calls for the nation to increase research and expand diplomatic contacts to find alternative sources, and to develop ways to recycle the minerals or replace them with other materials. At least 96 percent of the most crucial types of the so-called rare earth minerals are now produced in China, and Beijing has wielded various export controls to limit the minerals’ supply to other countries while favoring its own manufacturers that use them. “The availability of a number of these materials is at risk due to their location, vulnerability to supply disruptions and lack of suitable substitutes,” the report says, which also mentions some concerns about a few other minerals imported from elsewhere, such as cobalt from the Congo. Read more


Anonymous said...

The Rare Earths are NOT rare. They were named that when first discovered. Sources occur all over the world including the US. BUT in the US, environmentalists, often know as ecoterrorists, have caused productions costs to sjyrocket. China on the other hand mines and sells at rock bottom prices forcing competition from the market. Of course, China has a "special" "work to live" program for its people.

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