Vietnam is seeking to develop its rare earth industry at a time when global demand for such minerals is increasing. Its motivations are not merely economic, but also strategic.
China lacks sufficient reserves of strategic minerals. The country's strategic mineral reserves, including iron, copper, aluminum, nickel and lithium, equals less than 20% of the world’s total, while the country accounts for more than half of global consumption of cobalt, aluminum and copper. What are China's options?
Despite its economic benefits for locals, rare earth extraction has become quite a headache for the people of Ganzhou, Jiangxi province. They have been left with toxic water and contaminated soil which has an impact on the livelihoods of farmers nearby. With a lack of funding and technology, how can local governments clean up the mines?
Many were caught off-guard when China made forceful statements against the military coup in Guinea. Hasn't China always been circumspect and asked countries to resolve their internal issues well in past such cases? Perhaps Guinea being China’s leading source of bauxite for its aluminum industry is a key motivation. Or perhaps it is a case of finally feeling the need to step up to a greater international role? Zaobao’s China Desk examines the issue.
Despite China’s dominance of the rare earth industry, it will not lightly play this card against the US, simply because it knows it is weaker than the US in various areas and the US can well retaliate. Economics professor Zhu Ying looks at rare earths, the weapon of last resort in China’s defence against the US.
It is no longer an unqualified truism that China is a vast land of abundant resources, says Chen Hongbin. While it is rich in minerals such as rare earths, it is one of the world’s largest importers of natural gas, oil and iron ore, and is paying through its nose in some cases to reach a level of sufficiency. How can China achieve greater energy security?
Much attention has been focused on the burgeoning US-China tech war and the US’s suppression of Chinese companies. But less is known about China’s firm hold on the rare earth supply chain, which has the potential to derail the world’s production of products from the humble smartphone to F-35 aircraft and guided missile systems. In response, the US and its allies, including the EU, Japan and Australia, are actively coalescing around new rare earth strategies. But private investment alone will not be enough to challenge China’s global monopoly in rare earths. Can new international public-private partnerships be the answer?