Clinton Says China Won’t Block Rare Earth Shipments to U.S.
I missed this over the weekend, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said China will not block shipments of rare earth elements to the United States.
According to The Hill, Clinton said:
On the rare-earth minerals matter, the foreign minister, Minister Yang, clarified that China has no intention of withholding these minerals from the market. He said that he wanted to make that very clear.
But despite China’s assurances, Clinton also said it’s imperative that the United States look for other sources of REEs, the materials used in hundreds of everyday consumer goods like cell phones, as well as energy and military technology.
So, while we’re pleased by the clarification we received from the Chinese Government, we still think that the world, as a whole, needs to find alternatives and to find new sources, which we will be pursuing.
Clinton’s comments underscore what I wrote last week about REEs. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter much whether China is actually barring REE shipments to the U.S.; the seed has already been planted and the U.S. is now focused on the issue. With China owning 97 percent of the world’s REE production, the U.S. has to look for other sources.
Last week, I wrote about the United States’ best opportunity to develop a home-grown REE industry.