And it is past time to secure our supply. US Rare Earth Element Processors to Help Break China Stranglehold.
China has a virtual monopoly on Rare Earth Element (REE) mining and processing. These are things that are needed in everything, including military aircraft, and Tesla batteries (and in your cellphone), catalytic converters, etc. The list is quite long.
Rare earth elements are notoriously difficult to process and refine. While the United States and its allies also have considerable REE deposits, China’s lax environmental standards combined with low labor costs and a raft of government subsidies have allowed it to slash REE production costs, undercutting some processors in the West to the point of bankruptcy. Illegal and undocumented production is also commonplace in China, and is responsible for 20 to 40 percent of Chinese production, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). China’s virtual monopoly on the REE industry has meant that even the ore mined at California’s Mountain Pass mine is currently being shipped to China for processing.
But hey, electric cars are “environmentally responsible.” As long as you don’t look to closely at the environment in China, that is. (Hat tip to Instapundit.)
For a reference that is not Epoch Times, see Pilot rare earths processing plant, first one outside China, opens in Colorado – MINING.COM.
USA Rare Earth and partner Texas Mineral Resources have opened a pilot plant processing facility in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, which will purify rare earths, lithium and other critical minerals with the aim of helping Washington secure domestic supply of the key ingredients for military weapons, electric vehicles and phones.
The Department of Defense sees the lack of a domestic supply as a risk to our military.