Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rare earth elements. China controls 95 percent of the rare earth’s supply.

Most people don’t know or care what REEs are. They are very important.

They are elements used in manufacturing some of the parts that make some of the most common place things we have in our Westernized civilization work. They are also used in the most sophisticated equipment. TV sets, mobile phones, satellites, defense materiel, medical equipment. As the STRATFOR report says, practically everyone on our planet is affected by China’s halt or slowdown of its export of REEs to the rest of the world.

We decided to run a special report today on this subject not just because it is causing, or adding to, the tension between two of our closest partners—China and Japan. But also because its prohibitiveness could change mankind for the better.

China controls 95 percent of the rare earth’s supply.With this control China can, in the short term, cause havoc on the industrial and high-technology production of the richest countries in our planet.It was thanks to China’s making REEs available relatively cheap and in huge quantities to the industrial countries that developments in TV technology, satellites (and therefore cable TV), car production, automotive fuel refining and many other applications became possible.It was China’s making REEs readily available that even relatively poor countries, like ours, became the world’s texting capital!

STRATFOR points out that Beijing’s halt of exports by imposing quotas and decision to reduce REE production were forced by practical and urgent concerns—not quite the desire to show China’s power.

It just dawned on China’s leaders that REE was not earning money, although it was employing lots of Chinese, and worse causing a lot of pollution and other environmental damage.Also, the global ecology protection laws and rules are making REE mining and production more and more expensive. So China would have to price its REE exports higher.

The result of this is that at least for a decade—which is how long it will take for other sources than China to be operational—the reduced supply may make some of the less important and more deleterious products to be forgotten.

We hope it will result in the mindlessly consumeristic habits to die and the birth of the more thoughtful and truly human mentality in most of mankind. Manila Times

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