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China Plays Heavy Metal: Rare Earth Elements and the US Defence Industry  
 
Product Ref: 11/500C Company: N/A

Product Type: Case Industry: Diversified Metals and Mining

Related Product(s): N/A
In 2010, 97% of the world's supply of rare earth elements (REE) came from mines in China. Global demand tripled from 40,000 tonnes to 120,000 tonnes between 2000 and 2010 while China steadily cut its annual exports. Fears of a crisis in Western countries increased as alternative supplies of these materials were sought. REE were used in a number of products, including in the military industry. Reports indicated that the US defence industry was "totally dependent" on imports of REE and advised defence contractors to try to limit their dependence on these materials as well as to actively seek substitutes. The United States faced the challenge of rebuilding domestic REE supplies to achieve self-sufficiency and protect the environment.
Functional Area : Economics & Business Policy

Learning Objective: To discuss the implications of REE dependency, particularly for the US defence industry.
To discuss the costs and benefits of resuming extraction of REE vis-a-vis the protection of the environment.
Length: 14 pages Country: China (People's Rep. of)

Pub. Year: 2011 Level of Difficulty: 1
         
This product type is available in the following language(s):      English
         
Related Information: N/A
 
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