Thursday, September 3, 2009

China Eyes Ban on Rare Metal Exports

Beijing is drawing up plans to prohibit or restrict exports of rare earth metals that are produced only in China and play a vital role in cutting edge technology, from hybrid cars and catalytic converters, to superconductors, and precision-guided weapons, reports Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.

A draft report by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has called for a total ban on foreign shipments of terbium, dysprosium, yttrium, thulium, and lutetium. Other metals such as neodymium, europium, cerium, and lanthanum will be restricted to a combined export quota of 35,000 tonnes a year, far below global needs.

China mines over 95pc of the world’s rare earth minerals, mostly in Inner Mongolia.

Blackberries, iPods, mobile phones, plams TVs, navigation systems, and air defence missiles all use a sprinkling of rare earth metals. They are used to filter viruses and bacteria from water, and cleaning up Sarin gas and VX nerve agents.

Makes me want to start looking at publicly traded non-Asian based rare earth producers for long-term investment opportunities.


  1. I saw this interesting commentary a while back which gives some ideas in this space.

  2. China's position in rare earth minerals is not wholly limited to Chinese sources of supply. See this item from "The Australian".

  3. The NYT also has a recent story on Chinese off shore RME activity here

  4. A small sign of gratitude for educating me on the dark art of M2nsa.