Feeds

China reveals new strategy of stockpiling rare earths

We don't need no steenkin' WTO

New hybrid storage solutions

Tech supply chain jitters are set to resurface after it emerged that China has begun the strategic stockpiling of rare earth minerals.

State-run business title the China Securities Journal broke the news, but didn’t elaborate on exactly when the programme had begun.

lutetium rare earths element

China produces 90 per cent of the world's
rare earth minerals...

Buying up and hoarding supplies of the precious minerals will help in times of scarcity, which could be just around the corner given China’s long-term strategy of reducing the quantity of rare earths it mines. Prices of rare earth minerals over the past year have dropped significantly, prompting some to speculate that this is a strategic move to drive them up again.

The government enacted new regulations last week limiting production according to a strict quota system, and called on law enforcement agencies to clamp down on any illegal mining in the country, the paper said in a separate report.

The news will be met with some trepidation by the technology industry, which relies on many of these rare earth minerals to produce its wares.

The US, Europe and Japan have all filed complaints to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over what they claim is a deliberate attempt by China – which produces 90 per cent of the world’s supply of rare earths – to throttle supply and drive up prices.

Last week they pushed for a resolution, requesting that the WTO set up a dispute settlement panel to decide on their claims.

“These materials are key inputs in a multitude of US manufacturing sectors and American-made products, including hybrid car batteries, wind turbines, energy-efficient lighting, steel, advanced electronics, automobiles, petroleum and chemicals,” said US trade representative Ron Kirk.

“It is vital that US workers and manufacturers obtain the fair and equal access to raw materials like rare earths that China specifically agreed to when it joined the WTO.”

For its part, China claims it is scaling back its mining efforts for environmental reasons and to conserve supplies.

A China Daily report from April claimed that the country now has just 30 per cent of the world’s reserves, down from 50 per cent a couple of years ago. ®

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.