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Published by: Asia Case Research Centre, The University of Hong Kong
Published in: 2011
Length: 14 pages
Data source: Published sources

Abstract

In 2010, 97% of the world’s supply of rare earth elements (REE) came from mines in China. Global demand tripled from 40,000 tonnes to 120,000 tonnes between 2000 and 2010 while China steadily cut its annual exports. Fears of a crisis in Western countries increased as alternative supplies of these materials were sought. REE were used in a number of products, including in the military industry. Reports indicated that the US defence industry was 'totally dependent' on imports of REE and advised defence contractors to try to limit their dependence on these materials as well as to actively seek substitutes. The United States faced the challenge of rebuilding domestic REE supplies to achieve self-sufficiency and protect the environment.
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Abstract

In 2010, 97% of the world’s supply of rare earth elements (REE) came from mines in China. Global demand tripled from 40,000 tonnes to 120,000 tonnes between 2000 and 2010 while China steadily cut its annual exports. Fears of a crisis in Western countries increased as alternative supplies of these materials were sought. REE were used in a number of products, including in the military industry. Reports indicated that the US defence industry was 'totally dependent' on imports of REE and advised defence contractors to try to limit their dependence on these materials as well as to actively seek substitutes. The United States faced the challenge of rebuilding domestic REE supplies to achieve self-sufficiency and protect the environment.

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