Source for Rare Earths, Rare Metals, and Critical Metals Investor Intelligence
"Mongolia has high potential in mineral material development and this will serve the two countries" national interests," Kan was quoted as saying.
Batbold said Mongolia will be able to produce value-added products by using advanced Japanese technology, the officials said.
The meeting, which was also attended by senior Japanese officials from top trading houses and other companies, comes a day after the government unveiled policies to secure stabler supplies of rare earth metals. The steps include stockpiling and plans to diversify suppliers to reduce Japan"s heavy dependence on China.
Batbold is visiting Tokyo to attend Sunday"s retirement ceremony for Mongolian sumo wrestler Asashoryu, a yokozuna, or grand champion, who left the sport in February.
Rare earth metal imports from China suddenly dried up last month as Japan and China engaged in a tit-for-tat spat over the arrest of a Chinese fishing boat captain last month whose trawler collided with Japan Coast Guard cutters near the Senkaku Islands, which are controlled by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan.
Kan last met with Batbold in late September in New York on the sidelines of U.N. General Assembly meetings.
Rare earth metals are a class of 17 elements including neodymium, dysprosium and cerium that are used to produce high-tech products ranging from cell phones and digital cameras to flat-panel TVs and hybrid cars.
China accounts for about 97 percent of the world"s supply of rare earths and Japan is almost 90 percent dependent on China to obtain them, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
A METI official said there are also precious reserves of rare earths in Kazakhstan and Vietnam, and that Tokyo will try to acquire stakes in mines beyond China to ensure supplies.
Assay results are often what companies use to project their legitimacy in the marketplace, and therefore it is critical to understand what these tests are really telling us. According to the US Bureau of Mines (as provided by EduMine here) “assay” is defined as following:
Definition: assaySo what do assay results tell us?
To analyze the proportions of metals in an ore; to test an ore or mineral for composition, purity, weight, or other properties of commercial interest.
1. How much rare earth is in that particular sample. Usually expressed in parts per million (ppm), assay results show the composition of a given sample of ore (or potential ore). This gives a sense, in general terms, of what elements are found in the sample. It is often converted to a percentage as well. They often don’t test for all of the REEs or show “trace” for the amounts.
2. The comparative percentage of one element to another. This can show if the rare earth content of the sample skews towards the light rare earths (LREEs) or the heavies (HREEs). Also, certain values of elements other than the REEs can provide clues as to the environment in which the REEs are found.
What rare earths found within?
It is also important to know what assay results DO NOT tell us:
1. What is the rare earth mineral (or minerals)? Sometimes it is assumed that you may have a particular mineral when you have a given set of assay results — I have made this assumption in the past myself. It is true that certain minerals may have a typical distribution of rare earths, but there may be other rare earth minerals involved. A good example of this would be Thor Lake, which can have a number of rare earth-bearing minerals in a given sample. Other testing methods must be used to ensure that the rare earth minerals are properly identified. After all, it is critical to correctly identify the mineral that hosts the rare earths.
2. Is the assayed sample representative? Beware of the infamous “grab sample”. Many companies take special care to take samples only from what they believe to be the prospective ore body. However, it is often difficult to resist assaying the fantastic grab sample – perhaps that one sample found 40 meters up the cliff face that has that giant perfect crystal of bigdollarite! Just make sure that the results that you are looking at come from samples that are taken from areas that are representative of the potential ore body.
3. Metallurgy. You can receive fabulous assay results from complex mineralogy. However, it may not ever be economic to get the REEs out the minerals. It takes lots of time, effort, and money to properly determine a process to create a saleable concentrate of rare earths. Many companies are taking the proper steps to establish the processing needed to pull out the REEs, but beware of the assumption that the REEs can be easily pulled out of the ground. If a company has $500 rock in the ground, but it takes you $2500 to pull out the rare earths – that project may not be feasible.
Seabed Nodules and
Rare Earth ElementsManganese nodules, about the size of potatoes, litter the deep-water seabed. Sometimes they are so abundant that they cover 70% of the seabed surface. They have been tantalizing potential miners for decades, and now they are suddenly back in play.
A nodule grows slowly, adding about 1cm to its diameter over the course of several million years. It grows around a core – a tiny fragment of shell or sand – with concentric layers of iron and manganese hydroxides, along with copper, nickel and cobalt oxides, precipitating from the water around it, reaching 5-10cm in diameter. Most of the nodules lie on the abyssal plains, 4000-6000m deep.
The Challenger expedition of 1872 first dragged some up. Serious efforts to try to exploit them didn’t occur until the 1970s and 1980s, but the practical, economic and political problems were just too great to resolve.
For problems there are. For instance, who do the nodules belong to? Because they lie mostly in deep water, beyond the 200 mile limits of Exclusive Ecological Zones, the UN Law of the Sea eventually established that they are the Common Heritage of Mankind: whoever succeeds in mining them will have to share the profits with the rest of the world. Not exactly an attractive prospect for profit-oriented corporations.
Besides the question of who owns the nodules, and the taxes that will accompany any deep seabed mining venture, how do we get them to the surface? No one yet has a particularly good idea. Imagine trying to control a vacuum cleaner with a hose a few km long.
The biggest problem, though, is that, pure as the nodules might be, there are land-based sources of manganese, iron, copper and nickel where the costs of mining the ore have remained much less than any estimated for retrieving nodules from such deep water.
So nothing much has happened.
Until now. Since a publication in 1968, we have known that the nodules also contain low levels of Rare Earth Elements (REEs), and very recently Rare Earth Elements have caught everyone’s attention. They are the elements that are piled up in a ‘pull-out’ near the bottom of the Periodic Table with unfamiliar names such as Cerium, Dysprosium, Yttrium, and Lanthanium.
Modern technology can’t do without Rare Earth Elements. We use them increasingly in magnets, lasers, fiber optics, disc drives, memory chips, superconductors, liquid crystal displays, rechargeable batteries, smart phones, smart bombs. The magnets of green technologies of wind turbines and hybrid cars depend on them.
The 16 Rare Earth Elements aren’t actually rare, they just rarely occur in economically exploitable ore pockets. China now has 95% of world production, acquired through its familiar combination of low labor costs and particularly lax regulation of the environmental hazards – which include strip mining, acidification of watersheds, creation of toxic reservoirs, and accumulation of radioactive sludge. A reminder that our potentially green economy is currently dependent on very dirty mineral extraction.
And then a couple of months ago, China stopped shipment of REEs when Japan arrested one of its fishing vessels. The five week embargo caught the world’s attention. Though China eventually lifted the embargo, it says it needs most of what it produces its for own uses, and has told other countries to mine their own REEs, or move their companies to China.
So everyone is now looking at other sources of REEs. Companies are emerging in California, Greenland, Australia, Canada, South Africa and unfortunately Congo Republic to mine them, but it will still be about 10 years before the dependency on China will be broken.
And that brings us back to the seabed nodules. The value of their common minerals has been increasing, and now their REEs have become very attractive as well. Soon, despite the problems of profit sharing and accessibility, a new seabed mining industry will develop.
Competitive, high seas, deepwater seabed vacuuming. What could go wrong with that?
REE: Chinese rare earth expert calls for immediate stockpiling
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November 2, 2009 - China should use its reserves of foreign currency to buy rare earths for stockpiling in a bid to protect strategic resources, said a senior Chinese researcher on rare earths.
“I hope the Chinese government can invest about $ 1 billion to buy rare earths and thorium for stockpiling as China presently has sufficient reserves of foreign currencies and market prices for rare earths are comparatively low at this moment,” said Mr. Xu Guangxian, professor at Peking University in an interview with the China Economy Times.
“We must set up a stockpiling system for rare earths and thorium and support leading domestic producers like Baogang, Minmetals and Jiangxi Copper to implement the stockpiling,” Mr. Xu, also an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said. He is regarded as the "Father of Rare Earths" in the industry in China.
China produces over 95% of the world's rare earth supply. However, there has been much criticism in China that the country's rare earths have been overproduced and undersold in the last decade.
“Japan and South Korea have built up stockpiles which are enough for 20 years of consumption by taking advantage of low market prices before 2008 when China began to restrict production but China hasn’t set up a stockpiling system yet,” Xu criticized.
“We must take action soon to protect rare earth reserves otherwise they could be exhausted in only ten years in some major producing regions,’ Xu warned. “There were around 1.5 million tonnes of industrial reserves of medium and heavy rare earths in southern China but now only 600,000 tonnes is there after years of overexploitation.”
Besides production restrictions and a stockpiling system, Mr. Xualso called for industry integration to prevent waste of resources.
“China has around 70-80 producers for rare earth separation butt here is only one in Europe. Most of them are very small and harmful because they cause unfair trade by undercutting each other when market prices fluctuate. So we must support major producers like Baogang, Minmetals and Jiangxi Copper to lead the integration,” Xu said.
TODAY’S STUDY: THE WHAT, WHERE AND
WHEN OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS
Marc Humphries, September 6, 2011 (Congressional Research Service)
The concentration of production of rare earth elements (REEs) outside the United States raises the important issue of supply vulnerability. REEs are used for new energy technologies and national security applications. Is the United States vulnerable to supply disruptions of REEs? Are these elements essential to U.S. national security and economic well-being?
There are 17 rare earth elements (REEs), 15 within the chemical group called lanthanides, plus yttrium and scandium. The lanthanides consist of the following: lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium. Rare earths are moderately abundant in the earth’s crust, some even more abundant than copper, lead, gold, and platinum. While more abundant than many other minerals, REEs are not concentrated enough to make them easily exploitable economically. The United States was once self-reliant in domestically produced REEs, but over the past 15 years has become 100% reliant on imports, primarily from China, because of lower-cost operations.
There is no rare earth mine production in the United States. U.S.-based Molycorp operates a separation plant at Mountain Pass, CA, and sells the rare earth concentrates and refined products from previously mined above-ground stocks. Neodymium, praseodymium, and lanthanum oxides are produced for further processing but these materials are not turned into rare earth metal in the United States. Molycorp anticipates reopening its Mountain Pass mine (as a low-cost producer) in 2012.
Some of the major end uses for rare earth elements include use in automotive catalytic converters, fluid cracking catalysts in petroleum refining, phosphors in color television and flat panel displays (cell phones, portable DVDs, and laptops), permanent magnets and rechargeable batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles, and generators for wind turbines, and numerous medical devices. There are important defense applications, such as jet fighter engines, missile guidance systems, antimissile defense, and space-based satellites and communication systems.
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World demand for rare earth elements is estimated at 136,000 tons per year, with global production around 133,600 tons in 2010. The difference is covered by previously mined aboveground stocks. World demand is projected to rise to at least 185,000 tons annually by 2015. Additional mine capacity at Mt. Weld Australia is expected to come on stream later in 2011, to help close the raw materials gap in the short term. Other new mining projects could easily take 10 years to reach production. In the long run, however, the USGS expects that global reserves and undiscovered resources are large enough to meet demand.
Several legislative proposals have been introduced in the 112th Congress in the House and Senate to address the potential of U.S. supply vulnerability and to support domestic production and supply chain development of REEs because of their applications for national security/defense systems and clean energy technologies. The House Committee on Natural Resources approved H.R. 2011, the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2011, on July 20, 2011…
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What Are Rare Earth Elements?
There are 17 rare earth elements (REEs), 15 within the chemical group called lanthanides, plus yttrium and scandium. The lanthanides consist of the following: lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium. Rare earths are moderately abundant in the earth’s crust, some even more abundant than copper, lead, gold, and platinum. While some are more abundant than many other minerals, most REEs are not concentrated enough to make them easily exploitable economically.2 The United States was once self-reliant in domestically produced REEs, but over the past 15 years has become 100% reliant on imports, primarily from China, because of lower-cost operations.3 The lanthnides are often broken into two groups: light rare earth elements (LREEs)—lanthanum through europium (atomic numbers 57-63) and the heavier rare earth elements (HREEs)—gadolinium through lutetium (atomic numbers 64-71). Yttrium is typically classified as a heavy element.4
Major End Uses and Applications
Currently, the dominant end uses for rare earth elements in the United States are for automobile catalysts and petroleum refining catalysts, use in phosphors in color television and flat panel displays (cell phones, portable DVDs, and laptops), permanent magnets and rechargeable batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles, and numerous medical devices (see Table 1). There are important defense applications such as jet fighter engines, missile guidance systems, anti-missile defense, and satellite and communication systems. Permanent magnets containing neodymium, gadolinium, dysprosium, and terbium are used in numerous electrical and electronic components and new-generation generators for wind turbines. About 75% of permanent magnet production is concentrated in China. See Table 1 for selected end uses of rare earth elements…
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Rare Earth Resources and Production Potential
Rare earth elements often occur with other elements, such as copper, gold, uranium, phosphates, and iron, and have often been produced as a byproduct. The lighter elements such as lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, and neodymium are more abundant and concentrated and usually make up about 80%-99% of a total deposit. The heavier elements—gadolinium through lutetium and yttrium—are scarcer but very “desirable,” according to USGS commodity analysts…
Most REEs throughout the world are located in deposits of the minerals bastnaesite…and monazite…Bastnaesite deposits in the United States and China account for the largest concentrations of REEs, while monazite deposits in Australia, South Africa, China, Brazil, Malaysia, and India account for the second largest concentrations of REEs. Bastnaesite occurs as a primary mineral, while monazite is found in primary deposits of other ores and typically recovered as a byproduct. Over 90% of the world’s economically recoverable rare earth elements are found in primary mineral deposits (i.e., in bastnaesite ores)…
Concerns over radioactive hazards associated with monazites (because it contains thorium) have nearly eliminated it as a REE source in the United States. There are high costs associated with thorium disposal. Bastnaesite, a low-thorium mineral (dominated by lanthanum, cerium, and neodymium) is shipped from stocks in Mountain Pass, CA. The more desirable HREEs account for only 0.4% of the total stock. Monazites have been produced as a minor byproduct of uranium and niobium processing. Rare earth element reserves and resources are found in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Missouri, Utah, and Wyoming. HREEs dominate in the Quebec-Labrador (Strange Lake) and Northwest Territories (Thor Lake) areas of Canada. There are high-grade deposits in Bayan Obo, Inner Mongolia, China (where much of the world’s REE production is taking place) and lower-grade deposits in South China provinces providing a major source of the heavy rare earth elements…Areas considered to be attractive for REE development include Strange Lake and Thor Lake in Canada; Karonga, Burundi; and Wigu Hill in Southern Tanzania…
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Supply Chain Issues
The supply chain for rare earth elements generally consists of mining, separation, refining, alloying, and manufacturing (devices and component parts). A major issue for REE development in the United States is the lack of refining, alloying, and fabricating capacity that could process any future rare earth production. One U.S. company, Electron Energy Corporation (EEC) in Landisville, PA, produces samarium cobalt (SmCo) permanent magnets, while there are no U.S. producers of the more desirable neodymium iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets needed for numerous consumer electronics, energy, and defense applications. EEC, in its production of its SmCo permanent magnet, uses small amounts of gadolinium—an REE of which there is no U.S. production. Even the REEs needed for these magnets that operate at the highest temperatures include small amounts of dysprosium and terbium, both available only from China at the moment. EEC imports magnet alloys used for its magnet production from China.
The underinvestment in U.S. supply chain capacity (including processing, workforce development, R&D) has left the United States nearly 100% import dependent on all aspects of the REE supply chain and dependent on a sole source for much of the material. An April 2010 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report illustrates the lack of U.S. presence in the REE global supply chain at each of the five stages of mining, separation, refining oxides into metal, fabrication of alloys and the manufacturing of magnets and other components. According to the GAO report, China produces about 95% of the REE raw materials, about 97% of rare earth oxides, and is the only exporter of commercial quantities of rare earth metals (Japan produces some metal for its own use for alloys and magnet production). About 90% of the metal alloys are produced in China (small production in the United States) and China manufactures 75% of the NeFeB magnets and 60% of the SmCo magnets. A small number of SmCo magnets are produced in the United States. Thus, even if U.S. rare earth production ramps up, much of the processing/alloying and metal fabrication would occur in China…
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Molycorp’s “Mine to Magnet” Vertical Integration Approach for Rebuilding the U.S. Rare Earth Supply Chain
From the mid-1960s through the 1980s, Molycorp’s Mountain Pass mine was the world’s dominant source of rare earth oxides. The ramp up in production had been driven primarily by Molycorp’s higher grade, its relatively low cost, and a rapid rise in the demand for the LREEs, particularly europium used for red phosphors in television and computer monitors, and cerium for glass polishing.38 However, by 2000, nearly all of the separated rare earth oxides were imported, primarily from China. Because of China’s oversupply, lower cost production, and a number of environmental (e.g., a pipeline spill carrying contaminated water) and regulatory issues at Mountain Pass, Molycorp ceased production at its mine in 2002. Since then, the United States has lost nearly all of its capacity in the rare earth supply chain, including intellectual capacity. However, under new ownership since 2008, Molycorp has embarked upon a campaign to change the rare earth position in the United States with its “mine to magnet” (vertical integration) business model.
After major energy producer Chevron purchased Union Oil Company of California (UNOCAL), which included the rare earth mine at Mountain Pass, Chevron wanted to focus on its energy business. They were willing to sell-off its non energy Molycorp Mountain Pass asset.
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When investor groups purchased Molycorp from Chevron in 2008, they did not inherit the environmental liability that resulted from the pipeline spill. Chevron continued the cleanup that resulted from an earlier ruptured water disposal pipeline carrying some chemical contaminants from the oxide separation facility. Since its purchase by the new owners, Molycorp CEO and engineers have been adamant about minimizing their environmental footprint during the separation phase of the process. Molycorp designed a proprietary oxide separation process that would use fewer reagents and recycle the waste water, thus doing without a disposal pond. Molycorp recently broke ground for their new separation facility at the Mountain Pass mine. This complex process separates out the individual elements which follows the mining of the raw material. Molycorp is in the process of reopening the mine in 2012 as the lowest-cost operator, according to their calculation. They expect production costs at around $2.77/kg versus an estimated $5.58/kg in China and a potentially much higher cost operation at Lynas at about $10.11/kg. Molycorp engineers suggest that they will use one-half the amount of ore to get the same amount of usable end product. In addition, they will use fewer reagents, use “full loop” recycling, and no evaporation ponds…
All permits are in place to commence mining with the exception of a permit to transport natural gas that will be used to power the separation facility. The rights of way for a pipeline must beapproved by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the pipeline permit by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In the meantime, Molycorp will truck in liquid natural gas for its energy source until the pipeline is approved…
Molycorp recently acquired the Japanese subsidiary Santoku America in Tolleson, AZ, and renamed it Molycorp Metals and Alloys (MMA). This acquisition is part of the firm’s strategy to become a vertically integrated company. It produces both NdFeB and SmCo alloys used in the production of permanent magnets. Molycorp Metals and Alloys is the sole U.S. producer of the NdFeB alloy. Their intention is to modernize the facility and expand metals and metal alloy production…Molycorp also recently purchased a majority interest in AS Silmet, an Estonian based rare earth element and rare metals processor, which will double its capacity for rare earth oxide and metal production (separation) in the near-term, according to Molycorp officials.
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Molycorp has entered into a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory to study new methods to create commercial-grade permanent magnets used in commercial applications. Development of downstream activities such as refining, rare earth metals alloying, and permanent magnet manufacturing will require a large amount of financing, a skilled workforce, and a sizeable U.S. market, all of which could be more completely developed in the long term. A potential barrier to entry to permanent magnet manufacturing, in the short term, is the intellectual property rights for permanent magnet manufacturing held by two firms: Hitachi in Japan and Magnequench (formerly a U.S. firm) which is owned by the Chinese. Months-long talks between Hitachi and Molycorp to jointly pursue permanent production in the United States were suspended in August 2011. Some investor because of the intellectual property rights issue.
The management at MMA is also examining ways to improve metal recycling. Much of their recycling research is focused on the magnets and the highly valued HREEs. They want to probe into the commercial feasibility of recycling materials contained in permanent magnets used in consumer goods. Sourcing sufficient quantities of end-use materials and understanding the metallurgical processes for extracting the heavy rare earth elements such as the dysprosium and terbium is an important part of the research. Testing the quality of the recyclable material and evaluating the economics will determine the project’s success. Molycorp is also evaluating nearterm opportunities to recycle energy efficient light bulbs for the phosphors…
Keeping and recruiting top talent (in engineering, science, and finance) that can help Molycorp achieve its mine-to-magnet mission is one of the company’s top priorities, according to company officials. Their aim is to consistently invest in the right people and the right training to accomplish its goal…
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Role of China
State-run (“State-Key”) labs in China have consistently been involved in research and development of REEs for over fifty years. There are two State-Key labs: (1) Rare Earth Materials Chemistry and Applications, which has focused on rare earth separation techniques and is affiliated with Peking University, and (2) Rare Earth Resource Utilization, which is associated with the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry. Additional labs concentrating on rare earth elements include the Baotou Research Institute of Rare Earths, the largest rare earth research institution in the world, established in 1963, and the General Research Institute for Nonferrous Metals established in 1952…This long term outlook and investment has yielded significant results for China’s rare earth industry.
Major iron deposits at Bayan Obo in Inner Mongolia contain significant rare earth elements recovered as a byproduct or co-product of iron ore mining. China has pursued policies that would use Bayan Obo as the center of rare earth production and R&D. REEs are produced in the following provinces of China: Baotao (Inner Mongolia) Shangdong, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Hunan, Guangxi, Fujian, and Sichuan. Between 1978 and 1989, China’s annual production of rare earth elements increased by 40%. Exports rose in the 1990s, driving down prices. In 2007, China had 130 neodymium-iron boron magnet producers with a total capacity of 80,000 tons. Output grew from 2,600 tons in 1996 to 39,000 tons in 2006.
Spurred by economic growth and increased consumer demand, China is ramping up for increased production of wind turbines, consumer electronics, and other sectors, which would require more of its domestic rare earth elements. Safety and environmental issues may eventually increase the costs of operations in China’s rare earth industry as domestic consumption is becoming a priority for China. REE manufacturing is set to power China’s surging demand for consumer electronics—cell phones, laptops and green energy technologies. According to the report by Hurst, China is anticipating going from 12 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy in 2009 to 100 GW in 2020. Neodymium magnets are needed for this growth…
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China’s policy initiatives restrict the exports of rare earth raw materials, especially dysprosium, terbium, thulium, lutetium, yttrium, and other heavy rare earths. It is unclear how much the export restrictions affect exports of downstream metal and magnets. According to Hurst, China wants an expanded and fully integrated REE industry where exports of value-added materials are preferred (including consumer products). It is common for a country to want to develop more value-added production and exports if it is possible.45 China’s goal is to build-out and serve its domestic manufacturing industry and attract foreign investors to participate by locating foreign-owned facilities in China in exchange for access to rare earths and other raw materials, metals and alloys, as well as access to the emerging Chinese market.
Some foreign investors are hesitant to invest in China because of the concerns related to technology sharing. Also, the September 2010 maritime conflict between China and Japan in which Japanese officials claimed that China held up rare earth shipments to Japan (denied by Chinese officials) has heightened the urgency among many buyers to seek diversity in its sources of rare earth materials.
Some have urged the U.S. Trade Representative to bring a dispute resolution case against China in the WTO, similar to a case the United States brought against China in 2009 over its export restrictions (such as export quotas and taxes) on certain raw materials (including, bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon metal, silicon carbide, yellow phosphorus, and zinc). The United States charges that such policies are intended to lower prices for Chinese firms (especially the steel, aluminum, and chemical sectors) in order to help them obtain an unfair competitive advantage. China claims that these restraints are intended to conserve the environment and exhaustible natural resources. According to some press reports, a WTO panel in April 2011 ruled that China’s export restraints on raw materials violated WTO rules.
According to a press account, a letter written by four U.S. Senators in March 2011 urged the Obama Administration to instruct the U.S. Executive Director at each multilateral bank, including the World Bank, to oppose the approval of any new financing to the Chinese government for rare earth projects in China.46 The letter also urged the Administration to impose the same types of restrictions on Chinese investment in mineral exploration and purchases in the United States as China imposes on foreign investment in rare earth in China…
The Chinese government announced in 2010 that it intends to restructure the rare earth mining industry under the umbrella of a few world-class mining and metal conglomerates for greater efficiencies and to reduce environmental degradation. In addition to the consolidation of the industry and environmental cleanup efforts, investor analyst Jack Lifton reports that China is building strategic stockpiles of rare earths and other critical materials that could meet domestic demand for several years. South Korea and Japan are also building strategic stockpiles.48 The level of stockpiling could have a dramatic impact on the market, particularly for HREEs.
The value of U.S. rare earth imports from China rose from $42 million in 2005 to $129 million in 2010, an increase of 207.1%. However, the quantity of rare earth imports from China fell from a high of 24,239 metric tons in 2006 to 13,907 metric tons in 2010, a 42.6% decline…
…Japan’s Interests…Selected Possible Policy Options…Research and Development…Authorize and Appropriate Funding for a USGS Assessment…Support and Encourage Greater Exploration for REE…Challenge China on Its Export Policy…Establish a Stockpile…
“High technology vitamins”
Chinese’s “sudden gift”
Partnering with the Land of the Rising Sun …
Five large deposits and 246 occurrences of rare earth minerals discovered
Before 1990, scientists from the former Soviet Union did conduct rare earth elements survey in Mongolia. At that time, reserves of rare earth elements were established in the areas in Khovd, Uvs, Khentii, Sukhbaatar and Khovsgol, allowing us to assume that rare earth elements are abundantly distributed throughout Mongolia.