China's dominance fuels rare earth supply fears

PLASTICS & RUBBER WEEKLY

Published: June 4, 2013 11:52 am ET
Updated: June 4, 2013 11:56 am ET

Related to this story

Topics China

China's domination in the production of rare earths – materials essential for manufacturing and technologies in a number of sectors – is leaving countries vulnerable to the availability of supplies, according to new research.

A new report from IHS Chemical argues that growing global dependence on diverse technologies such as computers, smartphones, defense systems, offshore wind turbines and hybrid automobiles "has left manufacturers and countries vulnerable to the availability and uninterrupted supply (largely from China) of some key elements used to produce these technologies."

China accounted for more than 85 percent of world rare earth production in 2012, while the country also consumed 70 percent of world production in the same year.

Supply disruptions were a major concern, said author of the IHS report, Samantha Wietlisbach.

"Such disruptions over the last few years interrupted Japanese automotive and electronics industry production and sent shock waves through the global manufacturing industries that rely on rare earths," Wietlisbach said.

"Other governments have realized their national security interests and industrial sectors were vulnerable, since China dominates the market in terms of both supply and demand," she said. "The supply shortages also resulted in unprecedented price spikes, impacting global consumers of these materials.

"It was a wake-up call to address diversity of supply and to explore possible substitutions. This, in turn, has led to many new mining projects being announced globally, with rare earth ore as the main product."


Comments

China's dominance fuels rare earth supply fears

PLASTICS & RUBBER WEEKLY

Published: June 4, 2013 11:52 am ET
Updated: June 4, 2013 11:56 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Keep up with China's rapid changes

July 31, 2014 10:33 am ET

In many ways, 1989 was a very special year in history. Plastics News was launched in Akron. Half a world away, China was trying to carry on economic...    More

Image

Chinese auto suppliers growing in US

July 24, 2014 4:17 pm ET

Two China-based automotive suppliers are expanding in the U.S., according to information released by the Michigan Economic Development Corp.    More

Image

Asia to remain chemical giant but US shale will bring competition

July 23, 2014 1:00 pm ET

A new IHS Chemical report on global spending for chemical production predicts capacity additions will peak in 2014 at $120 billion and then will...    More

Image

Super typhoon ravages South China

July 21, 2014 3:58 pm ET

Super Typhoon Rammasun, the most powerful typhoon that has landed in China in four decades, has left parts of South China devastated, and the local...    More

Image

Windmöller & Hölscher looking to continued growth in China

July 21, 2014 3:40 pm ET

With 2013 global sales of 600 million euros, China has grown into an important export market for Windmöller & Hölscher KG, second only to the United S...    More

Market Reports

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events