Global governments are moving toward electric vehicles, and renewables. In fact, many want far more electric vehicles on the road. For example, in the U.S., California, Gov. Newsom signed an executive order that will ban the sale of gas-powered passenger cars in the state starting in 2035. Many also want far more reliance on solar and wind energy.
However, for those green plans to happen, many must also have reliable access to rare earth metals, such as neodymium and praseodymium. Unfortunately, many countries are running into a severe problem. All because nearly all rare earth comes from China, which has proven to be unstable.
Worse, China has announced tougher regulations over the rare earth industry, from mining to exports. “The new rules would give Beijing greater control over the supply of materials that have become vital for high-tech manufacturing around the world. China accounts for more than 60% of global rare-earth production, and its exports sank to a five-year low in 2020,” as reported by Nikkei Asia.
That’s part of the reason the U.S. – which relies on 80% of China for rare earth imports is spearheading an initiative to find alternative sources. In addition, according to Forbes, China is stockpiling rare earths and critical minerals for its own domestic use, as companies and governments face worldwide shortages due to new demand for electric vehicles, such as those from Tesla Inc. and Nio Inc. No wonder many countries are seeking safer rare earth supply outside of China.