What "rare earth metals"?

Discussion in 'Financial Cents' started by Hispeedal2, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    What are they talking about here?

    FoxNews.com - China's Export Quota Cut Likely to Rile Tech Manufacturers

    China's Export Quota Cut Likely to Rile Tech Manufacturers

    BEIJING — China said Tuesday it is reducing the amount of rare earths it will export next year by more than 10 percent — likely to be an unpopular move worldwide since the minerals are vital to the manufacture of high-tech products.
    China accounts for 97 percent of the global production of rare earths, which are essential to devices as varied as cell phones, computer drives and hybrid cars. Countries were alarmed when Beijing blocked shipments of the minerals to Japan earlier this year amid a dispute over disputed islands.
    Concerns over China's grip on rare earths has led countries on a hunt for alternative sources. A number of companies in North America — notably Molycorp Inc. in the U.S. and Thompson Creek Metals Co. in Canada — are hurrying to open or reopen rare earth mines. Two Australian companies are also preparing to mine rare earths.
    Numbers released Tuesday by China's Commerce Ministry show export quotas of the rare minerals will be down 11 percent next year as compared to the same period this year. China usually issues a second batch of quotas during the year, and it is not known how the figures will change later in 2011.
    The new numbers say China is allocating 14,446 tons of rare earths among 31 companies. China allocated 16,304 tons among 22 companies in the first batch of quotas this year.

    China has been reducing export quotas of rare earths over the past several years to cope with growing demand at home. A Commerce Ministry spokesman has also said that China is cutting its exploration, production and exports out of environmental concerns.
    Earlier this month, state media reported that China plans to raise duties on some rare earth exports starting next year, but it did not say which minerals would be affected or how much the tax would be.
    A state media report Tuesday said China is preparing to set up a rare earths association that would include nearly all of the country's leading rare earth companies, and could help them to coordinate their negotiating position. The report posted on the Sina Corp. portal said the association should be set up in May.
    The United States last week threatened to go to the World Trade Organization with its concerns over China and rare earths. When asked for comment during a regular press briefing Tuesday, China Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu declined to answer.
    But China has had to address the global concerns numerous times since the spat with Japan.
    "China is not using rare earth as a bargaining chip," Wen Jiabao, China's top economic official, told a China-European Union business summit in Brussels in October.
  2. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    What are you doing reading this? Me thinks you may be treading into dangerous territory.

    BBC News - China pledges not to use rare earth minerals as weapon
    BBC News - US inquiry into China rare earth shipments
    BBC - Newsnight: Paul Mason: Rare earth: The New Great Game

    "The U.S. Geological Survey recognizes 17 different rare earths, materials with science-fictionesque names like lanthanum and gadolinium. They are used in everything: glass polishing and ceramics, automotive catalytic converters, computer monitors, lighting, televisions and pharmaceuticals." -LINK-

    "...the only people who really study these elements are master's- and PhD-level chemists and solid-state physicists ... and national leaders in places like China."

    And my favorite part:

    "Without these elements, "you can say goodbye to much of modernity," said King. "There will be no more television screens, computer hard drives, fiber-optic cables, digital cameras and most medical imaging devices. You can say farewell to space launches and the satellites ... and the world's system for refining petroleum will break down too.""

    Remember the recent thread on the movie "Collapse"?

    ""Really, if there are limited rare-earth supplies in world markets, then there will be a very limited 'green' future," King said. "There will be a limited future, period.""
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    The usual suspects are valuable for alloying steels. Neodymium in particular makes for pretty good magnets. Others have uses as disparate as additives in glass, batteries and lasers. A scandium/aluminum alloy is used as the frame for at least one revolver, very light and quite strong.

    Rare earth element - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    And no, civilization won't go belly up without them, but it will return to a kinder, gentler time. Like the 40s.

    Note: There are quite a few sources in the US that are not being exploited because the Chinese prices are WAY lower. (Might have something to do with cost of labor and environmental considerations between here and there, doancha think?)
  4. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    Maybe so. I posted here becasue I was thinking precious metals. Silver and Platinum are used tech. The response from the west was simply investment in reopening digs here. My main question is- is this referring to precious metals? If so, what are the general opinions about the future of silver? I have heard all the predicitions and this could be an indicator.

    Of course, this could be a response to the continued recession. When you have invested in the world's debt and the world is sucking, holding on to tangible makes sense.
  5. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    Interesting. So, it seems its been a long time coming. And the newest report states it as fact.

    It appears these metals are for tech and green tech.

    I'm not sure I buy that the economy will come to a grinding halt without Chinese exports... it just means digging will likely start elsewhere and the price will rise.

    How can green tech be based on non-renewable resources?? Such BS.


    Anyways. I tend to agree with grit. If these metals disappeared overnight, a collapse is not likely to occur. Will people be pissed about no Iphones.... yes. A return to a simpler time would be likely, but more likely we will look elsewhere to get the resource.

    China owns 35% of the resource, but provides 90% of the world market. Their cut isn't lucrative enough to allow for this crazy embargo. Unless, of course, they are doing the investing in foreign digging...
  6. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    There are domestic sources of rare earth metals. BUT environmental legislation put them out of business. It's very difficult to be in the metals industry in the USA. Also
    Added in cheaper costs out of China and we get what we get. So china decides to use them to exert pressure on our policies and low and behold it becomes easier for
    Domestic producers to get all their environmental permitting again. See what % of manganese comes out of china. They are attempting to be the worlds' go to source for all metals. Do you know how many domestic producers there are of pure magnesium in the us? I only know of 1 and then there are a couple of recyclers that don't count. How many big primary steel Smelters are left in this country? How many primary aluminum smelters?
  7. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Oh, the grand stage of controlled limited resources...

    A crucible of epic proportions.
  8. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    I don't think that this is a really big problem, like we are running out of rare earth s. It is we are running out of sources of really 'cheap' rare earths.

    there are deposits all over the globe. it's just that china's labor costs and disregard for environmental quality made it a good place for corporations to make a fast buck or billion.

    if china puts on the brakes, the production will just shift to the next most friendly place to get them from.

    Ultimately, when price to muck up a 3rd world country for it's minerals equals the cost in the states,Canada,Australia,New Zealand. Well be mining it closer to home. But alas well probably still send it to China for incorporation into our wizbang technology. ;)
  9. fireplaceguy

    fireplaceguy Monkey+

    This is the fallacy of the "green energy economy" or whatever Obammy calls it. There aren't big deposits of these elements anywhere in the world, and much of the tech that goes into "renewables" crashes without them.

    Heck - when you look at the rare earth metals that go into the manufacture of everyday consumer electronics, you can only shake your head. At the least, the price of these goodies is heading up, and someday, should we ever get serious about alternate energy, we'll probably be choosing between consumer toys and implementation of so called renewables.

    Melbo could set me straight on this if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing the wind power farms we're building wouldn't be possible without Neodymium for magnets, either.

    With the earth's population approaching 7 billion, and with every damn one of them wanting a cellphone and hot showers in the morning, you cannot regard many resources as genuinely renewable anymore. In fact, I can only list three:

    1) The sun's radiation

    2) Government bulls**t

    3) Gullible peasants

    Sadly, the last two are heat sinks. And the first one will fade out on us someday...

    A crucible of epic proportions indeed.
  10. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Well said, Fireplaceguy. I am glad that somebody gets it.
  11. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Australian rare earths miner leaps on China cuts

    [​IMG] <cite class="caption"> AFP/HO/Lynas Corporation/File – A Lynas Corporation image shows stockpiles of rare earth ore at their Mount Weld mine in Western Australia. … </cite>

    <cite class="vcard"> </cite> – <abbr title="2010-12-28T21:04:40-0800" class="timedate">Wed Dec 29, 12:04 am ET</abbr>
    SYDNEY (AFP) – Australian rare earths miner Lynas on Wednesday said China had slashed its exports quota for the lucrative metals used in flat screens and hybrid cars, driving a 12 percent jump in its share price.
    Lynas said China had cut export guidance for the first half of 2011 by about 35 percent to 14,446 tonnes, significantly reducing world supplies of the resource critical to digital-age goods such as iPods and plasma TVs.
    "[COLOR=#366388 ! important][COLOR=#366388 ! important]Export [COLOR=#366388 ! important]quotas[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR] continue to be a tool for the Chinese government to limit the export of China's strategic resource," Lynas said in a statement to the stock exchange, citing an announcement by China's ministry of commerce.
    "The 2011 regulatory constraints of rare earths supply from China, which supplies of 90 percent of rare earths to the world, is a significant restraint in product available for export."
    Shares in Lynas, which will become Australia's first rare earths producer, rocketed 12.35 percent to 1.82 Australian dollars (1.84 US) at around noon (0100 GMT).
    Shares of Chinese rare earth producers rose Wednesday after the government slashed export quotas for the precious metals by about 35 percent for the first six months of next year.
    The quota of around 14,450 tonnes announced by the commerce ministry on Tuesday is about 35 percent lower than one for the same period this year, Dow Jones Newswires said, potentially pushing up prices for the metals.
    China produces more than 95 percent of the world's rare earths, which are critical to manufacturing 21st-century goods from iPods to low-emission cars to wind turbines.
    Washington has urged China, which holds a near-monopoly on global production, not to use rare earths exports as a political "weapon" after it restricted flow of the commodities to Japan this year during a territorial row.
    China has denied any political motivation and said Beijing was restricting mining due to environmental concerns, affecting domestic companies as well as foreign buyers.
    Lynas said growth in China's domestic demand for the glowing or highly magnetic metals was likely behind the quota cut, coupled with a decrease in production.
    "This provides additional opportunity for Lynas to meet the supply deficit outside of China," said Lynas chairman Nicholas Curtis.
    "Lynas owns the richest known deposit of rare earths outside of China, at Mount Weld in Western Australia, and the company is progressing well to be in a position to commence production in Q3 (the third quarter) 2011."
    Used in mobile phones and electronic devices as well as hybrid cars, solar panels and wind turbines, demand for rare earths has skyrocketed in recent years, with experts warning of a supply crunch as early as next year.
    Lynas, among five companies with proven Australian deposits, according to Australian Rare Earths - Australian Rare Earth Elements - Charts Companies Research, will next year shift some 11,000 tonnes from a new plant in Malaysia, doubling output to 22,000 tonnes a year by end-2012.
  12. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

  13. Turtle

    Turtle Monkey+

    I guess we will have to start reclaiming these metals from old discarded electronic devices.
  14. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Already being done. In India.
  15. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    and china....
    Brokor likes this.
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