Ever hear of neodymium? How about dysprosium or yttrium? Thulium or lutetium? These are just some of the metals that China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is considering either banning for export or at least severely limiting the amount that it will let leave the country. These precious metals are used in manufacturing new, sometimes green, technologies, and China wants keep the good available for domestic use.

Neodymium, in particular, is required for making the electric motor in hybrid cars, and every Toyota Prius you've ever seen contains 25 pounds of rare earth elements. iPods, Blackberries and countless other items also require these rare earth minerals.

Right now, China mines more than 95 percent of the rare earth minerals that are taken out of the earth. While some might see the export limits as an act of aggression by China, an Australian rare metals expert told the Telegraph that, "This isn't about the China holding the world to ransom. They are saying we need these resources to develop our own economy and achieve energy efficiency, so go find your own supplies." Does this mean BYD will one day have a big, big advantage?

[Source: Telegraph via China Car Times | Image: Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty]

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