Another article . . .
Another country would surely be willing to destroy their environment to move up the economic food chain and provide these minerals. And given China's climb up the economic ladder, they would eventually want to stop the mining at some point. This trade war will just move up the timeline.Although called "rare", they are actually found relatively abundantly in the Earth's crust, according to the US Geological Survey.
However, there are relatively few places in the world that mine or produce them.
Extraction is both difficult and potentially damaging to the environment.
Chinese mines account for around 70% of global output.
Even selling them wouldn't make much difference I think. The US could just print more dollars to gobble them up, bringing the dollar value down and making goods sold in RMB even less attractive than they are already are with the tariffs. In any event, China doesn't hold that big of a percentage overall. I think only about 2% off all outstanding treasury notes.
I think China has 5% of the US Treasuries issued... more than 2% but ultimately they're not a big enough gorilla to seriously disrupt the system even if they sold them all.
For years, China has led mining efforts of rare earth minerals, becoming the world's largest producer because of its loose environmental restrictions and low processing costs.But he [Andrew Coflan, an analyst at Eurasia Group] calls the threat from China "overblown," more disruptive than existential, and "mostly the result of domestic nationalistic media voices rather than a key tool in the toolkit in Beijing."
He says the United States could potentially turn to itself, Australia, Brazil or even Russia to substitute rare earths. It would also have to address a scarcity of post-mining processing facilities because they are primarily in China.
Last year, the United States resumed domestic mining at its only facility, which had previously gone bankrupt. A mineral known as the main source of rare earths, called bastnaesite, was mined in Mountain Pass, Calif.Good memory, @mrgoodkatChina can only play a rare earths embargo card once, both analysts say. The move backfired after the country banned the export of rare earths to Japan in 2010. The World Trade Organization later forced China to scrap its export quotas. China's move also led to increased illegal production.
Me: Probably not Russia. Long-term, at least.
Rare earth is not rare, but China does have the richest rare earth mines: it is not only a willingness to disregard the environment.Another issue is refining capacity - US has one company that mines rare earth in US, but they still send the ore to China.