David Kirkpatrick

September 27, 2010

China, already cracking the rare earth metal whip

Filed under: Business, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:57 pm

I know I’m over half a week late on this (and yes, I’m aware I haven’t blogged well over a week — been crazy around these parts of late), but since I covered the topic earlier this month I thought it was interesting it’s already hit the front pages.

The issue is China essentially controlling the world’s supply of 17 rare earth metals — critical for the manufacture of electronics and military parts, to name two key examples — and how that power might be wielded. I blogged that everyone fretting about Chinese ownership of U.S. Treasuries was completely misplacing their concern. That advice has already been borne out now that China has used that control as a political bludgeon against Japan. I’m betting this is just the opening kickoff of a very serious game of political football. (Couldn’t help the metaphor there, I’m still pretty excited the NFL season is in full swing.)

From the second link:

Sharply raising the stakes in a dispute over Japan’s detention of a Chinese fishing trawler captain, the Chinese government has blocked exports to Japan of a crucial category of minerals used in products like hybrid cars, wind turbines and guided missiles.

Chinese customs officials are halting shipments to Japan of so-called rare earth elements, preventing them from being loading aboard ships at Chinese ports, industry officials said on Thursday.

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2 Comments »

  1. [...] restriction — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:34 pm I blogged about this topic a couple of times last month, and now it looks like the issue is already coming to North American shores. Not exactly sure what [...]

    Pingback by Update on the rare earth mineral/China issue « David Kirkpatrick — October 20, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

  2. [...] blogged about this more than once, but if you need the ultra-quick version — China supplies pretty much the entire world [...]

    Pingback by Rare earth mineral news « David Kirkpatrick — November 18, 2010 @ 5:51 pm


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