Archive | Cobalt, Critical, Strategic and Rare Earth Minerals and Metals

Here Are China’s Rivals in Shipping Rare Earths to the U.S. – by Justina Vasquez (Bloomberg News – May 29, 2019)

U.S. consumers of rare earths including makers of magnets used in electric vehicles, drones and robots are likely to scramble for supply of the minerals should China curb exports as the trade war deepens. Here’s a list of alternative exporters that American manufacturers may turn to for rare earth supply:


The largest miner behind China boosted output last year to 20,000 metric tons, from 19,000 tons a year earlier, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Australia is home to the mine run by Lynas Corp., the largest rare earths producer outside of China. The company said last week it plans to almost double output of the rare earths neodymium and praseodymium by 2025 and will expand its processing capacity. Continue Reading →

China set to control rare earth supply for years due to processing dominance – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – May 29, 2019)

(Reuters) – U.S. companies are years away from challenging Chinese dominance of rare earth minerals due to a lack of domestic processing facilities, ensuring the Asian nation will maintain its near-monopoly on refining and powerful leverage in trade talks.

In an escalation of the trade conflict between the two countries, state media on Wednesday implied China could restrict rare earth sales to the United States, stoking fears about Beijing’s role as a supplier.

Although, according to U.S. Geological Survey data, China contains only a third of the world’s rare earth reserves, it accounts for 80% of U.S. imports of the group of 17 minerals used in military equipment and high-tech consumer electronics. Continue Reading →

Rare earths: China closes Tengchong Yunnan/Myanmar port and bans imports of rare earth from Myanmar ( – May 24, 2019)

Imports of rare earth ores and concentrates from Myanmar were banned earlier this month by Chinese authorities. Imports from Myanmar have been a significant source of rare earth raw materials to the Chinese industry since 2017.

In addition, China closed the Tengchong Yunnan/Myanmar port, which has been the main boarder crossing point for rare earth ores and concentrates, with no sign of the port reopening over the coming months.

In 2018, imports of rare earth materials from Myanmar into China were reported to contain 23kt REO, including 860t Dy oxide and 130t Tb oxide, equivalent to 40% of China’s annual production. Continue Reading →

America’s Rare Earth Ultimatum: A Solution to Rare Earth Market Failure – by Ned Mamula (Capital Research – May 28, 2019)

Capital Research

Re-Visiting Regulations Gone Awry

Forty years ago, the U.S. was the world leader in the production of rare earth oxides and critical metallurgical materials derived from rare earth metals.

Then, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission agreed to apply the label of “source material” (i.e., radioactive source material) to all mine tailings (waste rock) that contained concentrations of radioactive thorium or uranium above .05 percent content. The regulations define any processed or refined material with thorium and/or uranium concentration above .05 percent as source material.

They could be enforced because virtually all countries were members of International Atomic EA, especially mining countries. Specific to the U.S., the Nuclear Regulatory Commission further upgraded U.S. safeguards on nuclear material, mirroring the International Atomic Energy Association regulations. Continue Reading →

Explainer: China’s rare earth supplies could be vital bargaining chip in U.S. trade war (Reuters U.K. – May 22, 2019)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Rare earth elements are used in a wide range of consumer products, from iPhones to electric car motors, as well as military jet engines, satellites and lasers.

Rising tensions between the United States and China have sparked concerns that Beijing could use its dominant position as a supplier of rare earths for leverage in the trade war between the two global economic powers.


Rare earths are used in rechargeable batteries for electric and hybrid cars, advanced ceramics, computers, DVD players, wind turbines, catalysts in cars and oil refineries, monitors, televisions, lighting, lasers, fiber optics, superconductors and glass polishing. Continue Reading →

Column: Rare earths trade gun is loaded; will China pull the trigger? – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – May 23, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Is China about to weaponise its global dominance of rare earths production in an escalation of the trade dispute with the United States? President Xi Jinping’s visit to the Chinese city of Ganzhou earlier this week seemed designed to send a double message.

A stop-off at Yudu was for the domestic audience. The town was the starting point of the Long March, the 1934 retreat by Communist Party forces in their ultimately successful campaign against Chinese nationalists.

The message: things are going to get tough but we’ll win in the end. A side-trip to a rare earths plant operated by JL MAG Rare-Earth Co, was for the United States. Continue Reading →

Turbulent times for Lynas – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – May 21, 2019)

How often does an investor presentation draw such keen interest from non-investors?

No doubt representatives from a number of governments and industries watched intensely on May 21 as Lynas CEO/managing director Amanda Lacaze accentuated her company’s “will to win.” Lynas has plans in place and funding en route to overcome what previously appeared to be an unattainable ultimatum.

Far from becoming a takeover target, let alone a jurisdictional fatality, the miner expects to continue building a rare earths supply chain “focused on rest-of-the-world markets, that is non-Chinese markets.” Continue Reading →

Nunavik Inuit respond to proposed rare earths mine – by Jane George(Nunatsiaq News – May 21, 2019)

Company wants to build 185-kilometre road south from Kuujjuaq

Organizations representing Inuit in Nunavik and in the comunity of Kuujjuaq have signed a letter of intent with a junior mining company that wants to build a 185-kilometre haul road south from Kuujjuaq to an open pit rare earths mine.

Maggie Emudluk, Makivik Corp.’s vice-president for economic development, and Sammy Koneak, the president of the Nayumivik Landholding Corp., signed the letter of intent on May 15 with Vancouver-based Commerce Resources Corp. A Makivik Corp, spokesperson said the letter of intent creates a committee that will provide answers to concerns and questions from people in Kuujjuaq.

“The Ashram deposit project is still in a pre-development phase and has to go through several stages prior to getting formal Inuit acceptance to be implemented,” the Makivik spokesperson said. Continue Reading →

China Raises Threat of Rare-Earths Cutoff to U.S. – by Keith Johnson and Elias Groll (Foreign Policy – May 21, 2019)

Beijing could slam every corner of the American economy, from oil refineries to wind turbines to jet engines, by banning exports of crucial minerals.

With a simple visit to an obscure factory on Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping has raised the specter that China could potentially cut off supplies of critical materials needed by huge swaths of the U.S. economy, underscoring growing concerns that large-scale economic integration is boomeranging and becoming a geopolitical weapon.

With the U.S.-China trade war intensifying, Chinese state media last week began floating the idea of banning exports of rare-earth elements to the United States, one of several possible Chinese responses to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to jack up tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods and blacklist telecoms maker Huawei.

U.S. oil refiners rely on rare-earth imports as catalysts to turn crude oil into gasoline and jet fuel. Permanent magnets, which use four different rare-earth elements to differing degrees, pop up in everything including ear buds, wind turbines, and electric cars. And China dominates their production. Continue Reading →

U.S. Rare Earths Revival Planned Amid Trade Conflict – by Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal – May 21, 2019)

The important commodities are caught up in the U.S.-China trade conflict

SYDNEY—An American chemicals company and an Australian miner want to build the first rare-earth minerals separation plant in the U.S. in years. Their aim is to shore up supplies of important commodities caught up in the U.S.-China trade conflict.

The proposal by Blue Line Corp. and Lynas Corp. LYC 14.43% illustrates how companies are growing increasingly worried by the trade rhetoric out of Washington and Beijing, while looking for opportunities to profit from tit-for-tat tariffs if they aren’t short-lived. The companies aim to build the plant in Hondo, Texas, near where Blue Line is based.

Production of rare earths is dominated by China, but some of the world’s biggest consumers are U.S. manufacturers of advanced technology such as electric vehicles, wind turbines and military equipment. Continue Reading →

Rare Earths, the U.S.-China Trade War and Your Phone – by Justina Vasquez (Bloomberg News – May 20, 2019)

U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to cut off the supply of chips and processors to Huawei Technologies Co. is hitting China’s biggest tech company where it hurts – its dependence on other nations for the semiconductors and software in smartphones and networking gear.

So when Chinese President Xi Jinping showed up days later at a rare earths processing plant, many observers saw a message in the visit: the U.S. has its own tech vulnerabilities, too.

1. What are rare earths?

A group of 17 chemically related elements found in mineral form that have magnetic and optical properties useful for making electronics more efficient. Electric vehicle makers rely on them for lighter-weight battery and motor components, while large wind turbines tend to use rare-earth-based magnets. Continue Reading →

China Threatens To Cut Rare Earths Supplies To The U.S. — Bad Idea – by Panos Mourdoukoutas (Forbes Magazine – May 16, 2019)

China is threatening to take the trade war to the next stage: cut off rare earth metal supplies to US technology and defense industries. That’s according to a couple of Globaltimes editorials.” US faces squeeze on rare earths,” says one editorial. “US need for rare earths an ace on Beijing’s hand,” goes another.

“Without a reliable domestic supply, the US must rely on rare earths from China to supply industries of strategic importance,” acknowledges Hu Weijia, author of the second editorial.

“Rare earths are vital to many modern technologies and a wide array of weapon systems used by the US military, but China controls the vast majority of the world’s supply,” adds Weijia.“It will take many years if the US wants to rebuild its rare-earth industry and increase its domestic supply to reduce its dependence on China’s minerals.” Continue Reading →

Processing alternatives could lift cobalt supply: CI (Argus Media – May 16, 2019)

New approaches to refining mineral deposits could increase cobalt output as the market looks to diversify supply away from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), delegates heard at the Cobalt Institute conference in Hong Kong.

Production in the DRC reached 125,000t of cobalt contained last year, accounting for around 70pc of global output. That share is set to rise further, as output is expected to increase to 200,000t of cobalt contained by 2025 with the start of new projects, said coordinator of the technical coordination and mining planning unit at the DRC mining ministry Paul Mabolia.

The DRC exports cobalt in the form of hydroxides, cobalt-copper concentrates and cobalt concentrates, white alloys, and cobalt carbonate. DRC cobalt hydroxide production increased to 350,000t in 2018, overtaking production of cobalt concentrate in response to demand from China for material to refine into battery chemicals, Mabolia said. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-BHP to keep Nickel West, Rio looks to Jadar lithium for battery boom (Reuters Africa – May 14, 2019)

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – Global miner BHP will hold on to the Australian nickel operations it previously put up for sale, while Rio Tinto is working on copper and lithium projects as the mining industry bets on demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The biggest mining companies say they are well positioned to provide the metals needed for the shift to EV technology, although they acknowledge the political risks and environmental issues in some of the countries where the best supplies are found.

Nickel is in demand to allow cars to travel further on a single charge. Using more nickel also cuts costs by reducing the use of expensive cobalt, a mainstay of current EV batteries. Continue Reading →

A Capitol idea: This U.S. bipartisan bill aims to reduce America’s critical minerals dependency (Resource Clips – May 7, 2019)

This won’t be the first time Washington has seen such a proposal. Announced last week, the American Mineral Security Act encourages the development of domestic resources and supply chains to produce minerals considered essential to the country’s well-being.

But the chief backer, Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, acknowledges having introduced similar standalone legislation previously, as well as addressing the topic in a previous energy bill.

This time, however, the proposal takes place amid growing concern. In late 2017, following a U.S. Geological Survey report that provided the first comprehensive review of the subject since 1973, President Donald Trump called for a “federal strategy to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals.” Continue Reading →