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China sweats as world ramps up independent rare earth plans

(ATF) China is showing signs of concern over its rare earths rivals’ plans for a global alliance to combat Beijing’s dominance of the world market.

Officials are worried about what they see as ‘encirclement’ in the vital sector with other countries planning joint rare earth ventures over what some say has been China’s regular export-choking tactics. 

The encirclement headline ran in the Huangqiu Shibao, or Global Times China, a well known extremist newspaper. Beijing is concerned about its possible loss of market share and consequent drop in foreign exchange flows.

Read more: ‘Dirty dozen’ companies fined in anti-monopoly crackdown

China’s rare earth resources account for 80% of the world’s known reserves though, recently, the well-known journal Geology published research claiming it has become possible to develop more economically viable rare earth deposits elsewhere around the world.

A British think tank revealed on March 4 that Greenland contains a large amount of rare earths.

US and European countries have already formed alliances in rare earths development and on March 12, the leaders of the United States, Japan, Australia and India held an online summit agreeing to build joint rare earths industries. 


This would involve supply chain structures, research and development of low-cost rare earth refining technology and low-level radioactive waste discharge systems.

This came after US President Joe Biden signed an executive order on February 24, requiring federal agencies to conduct a 100-day review of the supply chain of four key products, including rare earths.

Also on ATF:

China bans sand mining on Yangtze river over droughts, floods

Rivals teaming up for dig at China’s rare earths dominance 


Chris Gill

With over 30 years reporting on China, Gill offers a daily digest of what is happening in the PRC.


AF China Bond