Monday, October 4, 2010

Rare Earth Metals

As some readers will know, China recently successfully pressured the Japanese into returning a wayward captive sea-captain by threatening to withhold rare earth metals, which would have devastated the Japanese electronics industry.

My first point is that this seems like a scenario that I played once in Civilization IV or perhaps the subplot of a movie that also includes mega Gundams and space colonies.

My second point is that reading more broadly on the rare earth metal monopoly China's developed (nearly 97% of the global supply - link is to a Bloomberg piece), I asked myself who was in THIS meeting:
"A generation after Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping made mastering neodymium and 16 other elements known as rare earths a priority, China dominates the market, with far-reaching effects ranging from global trade friction to U.S. job losses and threats to national security."
It doesn't matter what color the neodymium is, as long as it helps power your laser mouse.

1 comment:

  1. I have this cell-phone radiation shield that's 100% rare earth metal. Big ups to Deng!