on other hand we are on the best way to get strong; the supreme court decided that money could by the government, we will have soon how -Mussolini called it- corporatism, with all of it's benefits and Charlie Rose with his open mind will be passé
well not so long time ego the US used to produce that "rare elements", but it was cheaper to import it from China so just stopped the local mining and production it was also one of that "such a good economical decision" the whole business was dismantled, technology gone,may be it is time to start make secessions -which could effect national safety - not just with the next quarter in mind TSA can't prevent everything..
I have a bit of experience in the motor arena and did some research on this. First, the material we are talking about is Neodymium which is needed for Neodymium Iron Boron permanent magnets. These are the highest energy density permanent magnets known. Wind power, Electric vehicle motors, and medical imaging equipment all use it.
Second, the point about Ferrite is very clear, if you need low price and can sacrifice power density, any electric motor design can be converted to Ferrite.
What is less well know is how it got this way. Since General Motors was a primary patent holder for the Neodymium Iron Boron magnet and a spin casting process for making the material, one wonders how the US lost its grip. Maybe GM was cash poor and the Magnaquench division in Indiana was worth more to them as cash than as a source for high performance magnets. But since US military equipment uses the magnets, why didn't the Defense Department block the sale of Magnaquench to New Materials Technology in Canada which is a front for a group of Chinese investors. Who promptly shut down the Indiana manufacturing facility as "too expensive to operate within the cost structure of the rest of the company".
Where we are today is not as dire as is being reported. The financial markets have been speculating for a couple of years about Neodymium and the REE. But the fact is that we have huge mines in the US and in Australia. The US mines have been under development for several years by Molycorp who had the foresight to get into the California mine with private equity. They are in a manufacturing agreement with Arnold magnetics to make NeFeB magnets here in the US to compete with the short Chinese supply.
I don't think there is a long term problem, but there is sure a lot to answer for in terms of how the US government let us get here. Same with Carbide for cutting tools, Zirconium and other strategic resources.
India wants to fill this gap and be a supplier to Japan and possibly to US also in future .
See this new headline :
You are absolutely right. "Geopolitics are a complex game" -- indeed.
I do see China's point of view, too. If they have resources that others don't, why wouldn't use them to their advantage?
The problem is, once you become a member of WTO, there are certain rules that we all need to abide by in our busienss conduct. I don't mean to get on the high horse (but you are right, the media tends to do that). But look, pointing out the obvious (even if they happen to be some sore issues to certain parties) is also our job, rather than letting it pass as "well, that's the way China does its busienss."
No self-respecting country would sign up for a proposition where its non-renewable resources are on a one-way track: export! I don't fault China for her stance; her methods may be crude, but by and large, her intention may be in the right place. The media odds are against her, especially in the west, to the extent that no amount of PR may fix it in the near future!
Geopolitics are a complex game; they are a class of infinite games where the parties may declare their intentions upfront but have no intention of reaching Nash equilibrium. China seems to be doing just that.
Dr. MP Divakar
From what I know of the REE issue, China had announced a number of years ago that they were going to steadily lower REE exports over a number of years. This is completely reasonable in that they're being transparent about it giving everyone time to prepare.
Now it seems like they're doing an outright unofficial embargo as retaliation for various alleged slights against them. From an American's point of view, it seems like China is only hurting themselves in the long run: the REE embargo won't cause major lasting damage due to existing stockpiles, but it will make it politically easier for the rest of the world to retaliate against China on issues such as trade.
What's the Chinese perspective on all of this?
I agree, the market will regulate this. If Chinese supply is restricted for some reason or is unable to meet the demand, then prices go up and this provides incentive for mining companies in many other countries to start producing these not-so-rare metals.