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EU warns of shortage of of rare earth minerals even as China tightens control

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China is planning to increase control of rare earth minerals mined in its territory after cracking down on illegal exports of these minerals.These minerals form an essential part of new Green Equipment used in Wind Energy,Batteries,Electric Vehicles,LEDs and Solar Energy.China has more than 95% of the world’s deposits of these rare earth minerals.It plans to tighten controls by only allowing state owned companies to mine these minerals putting the Chinese government in complete ownership of these elements.China has  blamed environmental degradations as the main reason for putting these controls though the other countries are seeing Chinese trying to gain an advantage in the Clean Technology race.The US has become  alarmed at these developments as these materials are also crucial for manufacturing high-tech military equipment like missiles and radars.Japanese companies are also under pressure due to their dependence on illegal Chinese exports of the rare earth minerals.The production of Electric Vehicles and Hybrid Automobiles which is going to greatly increase in the future use large amounts of these minerals.

China Weighs Tighter Controls on Rare Elements – NY Times

China is planning to tighten its control over its rare earth minerals by allowing just a handful of state companies to oversee the mining of the scarce elements, which are vital to some of the world’s greenest technologies.The State Council, China’s highest legislative body, is weighing a proposal to put the government in control of private and unauthorized mines that produce rare earth minerals, a strategic resource that much of the world depends on, according to China Daily, the official English-language newspaper.

Last year, China distributed a draft policy to foreign executives that called for barring the export of some of the rare earth elements that are in the shortest supply, and happen to be mined mainly in southeastern China using some of the most environmentally damaging techniques. That worry led to a scramble to develop alternative mines in other parts of the world.The U.S. Congress even ordered a study of alternative sources because of the American military’s dependence on China’s supply of rare earth minerals.But Chinese officials say they want to tighten control over the precious resource because the mining of rare earth minerals has led to environmental ruin and chaotic development

European Union raises the red flag on shortage of Rare Earth Minerals,

Now the European Union has joined the bandwagon with a report published warning of a shortage of 14 materials with 11 of them being rare materials found mostly in China.A group of experts has warned about the shortage of antimony, beryllium, cobalt, fluorspar, gallium, germanium, graphite, indium, magnesium, niobium, platinum group metals (PGM), rare earths, tantalum and tungsten.The report notes that most of the world’s production of  these minerals is  in China with other minerals being found in Russia,Congo and Brazil.The report has no solution for this scarcity problem except recommending more recycling.

Brussels warns of shortage of raw materials for technological products – Eurotribune

A group of experts led by the European Commission has warned of the shortage of 14 raw minerals materials used in the manufacture of high-tech and everyday products like mobile telephones, photovoltaic modules, lithium ion batteries and fibre optic cables. According to these scientists, the increasing demand and the concentration of global production in countries such as China, Russia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Brazil, are among the factors that endanger the supply of certain raw materials. Those minerals are antimony, beryllium, cobalt, fluorspar, gallium, germanium, graphite, indium, magnesium, niobium, platinum group metals (PGM), rare earths, tantalum and tungsten. The EU executive has recommended encouraging recycling and replacement as it is estimated that the demand for these minerals will triple between 2006 and 2030.

EU faces possible shortages of critical metals, minerals: report –

The main emerging technologies for the critical raw materials are antimony tin oxide and micro capacitors for  antimony; lithium-ion batteries and synthetic fuels for cobalt; thin layer photovoltaics, integrated circuits and white LED displays for gallium; fiber optic cables and infrared optical technologies for germanium; displays and thin layer photovoltaics for indium;fuel cells and catalysts for platinum; catalysts and seawater desalination for palladium; micro capacitors and ferroalloys for niobium; permanent magnets and laser technology for neodymium (a rare earth); and micro capacitors and medical technology for tantalum, the report noted.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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