We are. Looking at sprite's rather poor English I suspect that he/she is not American and I detect a twinge of regionalism. Don't sweat it. There are much more intelligent and insightful responses to this. Like mine below.
This looks like classic price fixing to me - with regulatory compliance being the propping instrument. The Chinese are driving up global prices thereby insuring higher profit for themselves and their "friends" (those who are in "compliance") and knocking out their "friend's" competitors (those who didn't pay-up) by using communist-driven environmental policy. What sweet irony.
Hey all you folks in favor of a command and control economy, this is what it looks like.
Excellent work, Junko.
That's one heck of a biased comment, why not just say the US starts all the wars in the world, they love it and we can't stop them, so they'd be good at dirty mining also.
I'm thought my engineering brothers were above this sort of nonsense.
It's past time for the U.S. to get re-involved in the mining and procurement of rare earth materials. There are plenty here, but as in other cases we fell down on the job because pulling them out of the earth is dirty and didn't make economic sense. The U.S. can't let China's monopoly on the supply of rare earth materials stand.