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China Threaten To Ban Export Of Rare Earths

May 29, 2019

By Paul Homewood


h/t It does not add up


China has hinted that a trade war with the U.S. could lead to real war with a coded warning as it threatens to stop exporting essential ‘rare earth’ minerals.

A commentary in People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China‘s ruling Communist Party, today said ‘Don’t say we didn’t warn you!’ – which is a diplomatic term usually reserved by Beijing to signal the start of an armed warfare.  

China yesterday said it is ‘seriously considering’ restricting exports to the United States of rare earths, 17 chemical elements used in hospital scanners, nuclear power stations and LED lights.

China accounted for 80 per cent of rare earth imports between 2014 and 2017 to the United States.

The United States replies heavily on China for rare earth products. Beijing accounted for 80 per cent of rare earth imports to Washington between 2014 and 2017. Estonia is the second largest rare earth exporter to the U.S., accounting for just six per cent of the overall volume 


The People’s Daily column today again hinted that China will use the natural resources to pressure Donald Trump in the trade war.

‘Will rare earths become China’s counter weapon against the unreasonable crackdown from the U.S.? The answer is not profound,’ it said.

The article then went on: ‘American companies have particularly high demand for rare earth products.

‘At present, some people from the U.S. side are indeed fantasising about obtaining resources independently, but it’s unarguable that the U.S. depends highly on the global supply chain. 

‘Without doubt, the U.S. wants to use the products made with the rare earths imported from China to suppress China’s development. Chinese people must not agree,’ it continued. 

The newspaper also stressed that China would prioritise its domestic demand on rare earth elements, which it billed as the ‘vitamin for industries’.

President Xi Jinping visited a rare earth company in southern China last week, state media reported, lifting the shares of producers on speculation that this indicated Beijing was considering using the chemicals in the U.S. trade war.





Of course, it is not only rare earths that can be used to hold the west hostage. China also has a near monopoly the world supplies of cobalt via its holdings in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Forget all the nonsense about trade wars and Trump. If we allow ourselves to become so reliant on China for vital supplies, these sort of threats will be used against us over and over again.

  1. May 29, 2019 5:45 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  2. Pancho Plail permalink
    May 29, 2019 6:10 pm

    Oh dear, that is going to put a serious crimp in the roll-out of alternative power and electric vehicles (unless they are Chinese of course).

  3. May 29, 2019 6:17 pm

    Tim Worstall at the Continental Telegraph has a recent post on this threat, suggesting that it is vastly overblown:

    • Gerry, England permalink
      May 30, 2019 1:52 pm

      Very true. Commodities are totally driven by supply and demand. If supply is restricted, prices rise and it becomes more profitable to develop supply.

  4. May 29, 2019 6:39 pm

    Despite the name : Rare Earths are not rare
    .. it’s just that the Chinese have set up mines and we haven’t much.

    • Pancho Plail permalink
      May 29, 2019 7:21 pm

      It is also that the environmental lobby doesn’t give Chinese polluters the hard time that they would get in the west, and as far as I can ascertain, the way the Chinese extract these minerals is a long way from being green.

      • bobn permalink
        May 29, 2019 10:50 pm

        Correct. rare earth mining and refining is what the greens would call dirty. The Greens would all lie in front of bulldozers before allowing it in UK. In Australia the mining company Lycus ships the ore to Malaysia to refine it there because the green blob prevent the local refing. Basically the west is strangling itself with a green eco noose.

  5. Joe Public permalink
    May 29, 2019 6:45 pm

    Threats to “stop exporting essential ‘rare earth’ minerals.” work both ways.

    Countries unable to buy them wouldn’t be transferring much-needed currency to China.

  6. bluecat57 permalink
    May 29, 2019 7:35 pm

    I got this. This one us easy. China, PLEASE do this SOON. we’ve got a President in the White House who will clear away every last regulation that is blocking the development if domestic sources and we will then NOT need China for minerals not Arab nations for oil. MAGA!

  7. bluecat57 permalink
    May 29, 2019 7:36 pm

    How do you edit to correct spelling? I’m sure you folks can figure it out.

  8. Bruce of Newcastle permalink
    May 29, 2019 10:33 pm

    Oh Brer Fox pleeease don’t throw me into the briar patch!

    (Biggest known undeveloped REE deposit is in Greenland, which has close ties with the EU.)

  9. May 30, 2019 2:21 am

    One of the later Bourne books used the Chinese monopoly on rare earths as the basis for another shoot em up story

  10. It doesn't add up... permalink
    May 30, 2019 2:02 pm

    China has already used the blocking of rare earth exports to Japan as a trade weapon. There was a distinct shortage of photographic lenses as one consequence (they are used to dope glass to achieve high refractive indices and less chromatic aberration).

  11. Sonja A Boehmer-Christiansen permalink
    June 20, 2019 2:45 pm

    Please use Sonja.B-C@ for all communication

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