Strategic commodities for industrial development never becam cheaper, as history telling us. At this times a ecconomy war is going on. The war for natural resources is on since early 60's and then in the 80's China came into play as well, since Jiang Zemin boosted Chinas industrial development. Rare earth at that time was a little puzzle neglectable, but became of strategic importance especially when the mobile phone and computers came more advanced and for military use.
Having acess to rare earth became same important as having access to copper or similar metals. Its a small portion compared to other metalls, but it bacame of same importance.
China now does everything to become gameleader also in production of high tech industries. The development od the 3D printer gave them the biggest shock ever, as this will move a lot of business back to the west. It is just not yet well reckognized by the public-it is one of the greatest technological development and will change our lives within the next 10 years, same or even more than the computer did. Even if the chinese will copy this technology a million times, it will not change the fact that production capability will drift in different directions as those products coming from 3D printers WILL be even CHEAPER in the west. So, Chinas struggle will become more fierce. China will need more money to develop its own country and finding ways to be more compatitive as millions of unskilled workers wont help them in the next decade, as they need to climb the hurdle from cheap producer to quality producer, same as Japan long time ago. Or they need to target Africa as their last resort customers. I am sure we wont see many chinese cars on our roads, as our technology in this sector is out of their league, yet and for the next 10years at least.
Stans, is also a small stone in the big play. Too small to be taken serious, but too important to be lost in that race. So, this we all know and thats why we are still here. Basically we are also (very tiny) fighting for a cause, not only money. Stay long -sometimes it needs to believe in a cause also. I was also puzzled sometimes, unhappy, but it isnt over before it is over. Have a nice weekend!
Beijing - China will further reduce quotas for rare earth exports by 30 percent at most next year to protect the precious metals from over-exploitation, said an official from the Ministry of Commerce.
He added that the country is now facing the possibility that reserves of medium and heavy rare earths might run dry within 15 to 20 years if the current rate of production is maintained.
Export quotas will continue to be axed in the first half of next year, said the source who declined to be named.
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China, which produces 95 percent of the world's supplies, has reduced 2010 production levels and slashed export quotas by 72 percent for the second half to 7,976 tons, according to ministry data.
Rare earths, composed of 17 elements, are used in a number of high-tech processes ranging from wind turbines and hybrid cars to missiles.
Domestic deposits dropped to 27 million tons by the end of 2009 - that's 30 percent of the world's total explored reserves - from 43 million in 1996, said Chao Ning, section chief of foreign trade with the ministry at a Beijing conference.
He said reserves of medium and heavy rare earths may only last 15 to 20 years at the current rate of production, which could lead to China being forced to imports supplies.
Medium and heavy rare earth, also known as ion-absor bed-type rare earth, is more valuable than the lighter variety. It's used in advanced areas such as missiles.
China's verified reserves of ion-absorbed-type rare earth stood at 8 million tons in 2008, while reserves of light rare earth totaled 50 to 60 million, according to data from the Ministry of Land and Resources.
"China is not the only country that has these deposits, but it has been dominating the world's supply market for more than a decade, thereby depleting its own resources," Chao said.
He added that strategic, environmental and economic considerations mean that the country can't afford to continue shouldering the burden of supplying the world.
Some developed countries - such as the United States, which alone holds 15 percent of the world's reserves - depend almost entirely on Chinese supplies. They ceased domestic production long ago because importation is more cost effective.
Prices in China rose by fractionally more than 20 percent since 1979 to hit an average of $8,500 per ton in 2009.
From a chinese Magazine:
SHANGHAI, May 27 (SMM) - State Council Unveils New Policies to Support Rare Earth Mining The State Council recently introduced a series of new policies, including delegating administrative review and approval rights regarding mining and separation of mineral resources of strategic importance such as rare earth, iron ore, coal and uranium, especially rare earth deep processing. This is a sign of strong support by the central government for rare earth industry. WSJ: China Rare Earth Exports Rebound Wall Street Journal reported that China’s rare earth exports have rebounded over the past few months. Analysts believe lower rare earth prices and recovery of Japanese economy are the major drivers of China’s growing rare earth expo......