China 's Rare Earth Production Essay

1010 Words Nov 22nd, 2016 5 Pages
Rare Earth Metals, or “REE”, are a series of chemical elements found in the Earth’s crust that are vital to many modern technologies, including consumer electronics, computers and networks, communications, clean energy, advanced transportation, health care, environmental mitigation, national defense, and many others. “There are 17 elements that are considered to be rare earth elements—15 elements in the lanthanide series and two additional elements. These elements help make many technologies perform with reduced weight, reduced emissions, and energy consumption; or give them greater efficiency, speed, durability, and thermal stability” (Rare Earth Technology Alliance). China 's rare earth production is the largest in the world, making up 97 percent of rare mineral trade worldwide. By the mid-1990s, China surpassed the USA as the world largest producer of REE. “China is the only country that combines operational rare earth mines with the necessary technology to mine them so that the country controls between 95 and 97% of the rare earth market” (Hayes-Labruto, et. Al). China 's supply dominance and exertion of market power are worrisome to many governments and companies around the world. Although the development of China’s REE industry has been a government-sponsored project from the outset, it developed differently from official hopes: inefficient production, low prices, fast depletion rates, horrendous pollution, and lax control. The mining, production, and incorrect…

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