China's biggest producer of rare earths suspends production, in hopes of boosting slumping prices

China's biggest producer of rare earths is suspending production for one month in hopes of boosting slumping prices of the exotic minerals used in mobile phones and other high-tech products.

 

This week's move by Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (Group) Hi-Tech might fuel tensions with the United States and Europe. They have questioned Beijing's decision announced earlier to limit exports while it tries to develop its own manufacturers of magnets and other products made of rare earths.

 

In a statement through the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Baotou Steel said it wants to "balance supply and demand" after prices for rare earths fell amid uncertainty about the U.S. and European economic outlooks.

 

Rare earths are a group of 17 minerals used in manufacturing flat-screen TVs, mobile phones, batteries for electric cars, wind turbines and weaponry.

 

China has about 30 percent of global rare earth deposits but accounts for 97 percent of production. Beijing has alarmed global manufacturers by reducing exports, prompting pressure from Europe and the United States to treat foreign and domestic buyers equally.

 

continues

http://www.newser.com/article/d9qfukgg0/major-chinese-rare-earths-s...

 

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Comment by ArchAngel on October 21, 2011 at 11:44am

Many of these elements are critical for defense and technology development. It should be a national security matter. Most of our advanced weapons systems cannot be produced without the critical substances.

 

Allowing China to hold more than 90% of world production, and allowing them to manipulate the price from their near monopoly position is a huge security risk.

 

The Gov should declare that this is a national security issue. They should re-open those mines that closed when China dumped on the market sending prices plummeting. The gov should insure that they stay open with subsidies or outright government operation of the mines.

 

Other sources around the world should be developed without cost being the determining factor. The industrial world must have these elements. Outside of market manipulations the prices should be lower than they are today. And that can change with added supply on the markets.

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