A coal mine in Mongolia
Reports of the death of rare earth metals might have been greatly exaggerated. While it remains true that China mines almost all (i.e., more than 95 percent) of the rare earth minerals that are taken out of the earth, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that recent news saying that China may begin hoarding these minerals – needed for today's hybrids, among many other high-tech products – are false. Instead, a senior Chinese official told the WSJ, the export controls are being put in place in order to get more high-tech firms to move to Inner Mongolia. Of course, if companies are building fancy gadgets using the metals in Mongolia, that does effectively hoard them, in that they won't be available for export. This means that fears of a price increase in the metals is not out of the question.
[Source: Wall Street Journal via Green Car Advisor]
Photo by Wolfiewolf. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.