World demand for rare earths elements, vital in many new technologies, is forecast to increase to 200,000 tonnes a year by 2014, with China producing 160,000 tonnes. Beijing has already exploited its near monopoly by temporarily suspending exports to Japan in 2010, and some experts believe it is planning to boost its market dominance by switching from the export of oxides and metals to finished products alone.

THE worldwide expansion of green technologies, including renewable energy resources, is heavily dependent on a stable supply of raw materials, particularly so-called rare earths elements (REEs).

These 17 key industrial minera...

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Dr. Frank Umbach
Not only Japan but also the United States, the European Union and other nations have been discussing their raw material supply security and the world’s heavy dependence on China for REEs, as well as seeking ways to diversify their imports
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