China’s Rare Earth Metals Monopoly Could Be Coming to an End – by John Feng (Newsweek – November 2, 2022)

After decades of geopolitical tensions over access to oil, the transition to clean energy is setting up a global competition over another natural resource: rare earth elements.

The 17 metals, which aren’t scarce but are hard to find in economically viable concentrations, are significant to greening economies of the future and the defense industrial base of the United States and others.

America’s heavy reliance rare earth imports—indispensable in the production of wind turbines and electric vehicles, but also advanced fighter aircraft and precision-guided munitions—has been identified as a serious strategic vulnerability, especially at a time when the global supply chain is comprehensively dominated by its foremost rival, China.

The U.S. lists dozens of critical minerals including rare earths as vital to its economic security: lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese for EV batteries; copper and aluminium for power grids; dysprosium and terbium for missiles and jet engines; as well as neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium for magnets and semiconductors.

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