Forbes playing up the first resource war of the twenty-first century. It has Tim Worstall (a Scandium and exotic metals dealer by day. See his personal blog here) suggesting three pieces of evidence that point to China losing the rare earths war.
Related reading –
Japan finds major rare earth deposits (News.com.au – August 2, 2012)
Winning the Rare Earth Economic War: Luisa Moreno (The AU Report, March 20, 2012)
U.S. and China On Trade War Over Rare Earth Export Restriction (International Business Times, March 13, 2012)
The New Opium War: China’s Rare Earth Minerals (New American Media, March 15, 2012)
It has even popped up as part of an intertextual background of a Cold War between the U.S. and China in the top-selling Call of Duty: Black Ops II computer game. Its entire series has sold over a hundred million copies – China cuts off rare earths. World War ensues. It’s Call of Duty, the video game (Smart Planet, July 6, 2012).
Why China Has Lost The Rare Earths War: The Power of Markets
Tim Worstall, Contributor
Source – Forbes, published June 24, 2012
This will strike some as over-dramatic but I think it’s fair to say that recent events in the rare earths market have been the first resource war of the 21 st century. And I also think it’s fair to say that China has lost this war as a result of really not understanding sufficiently the power of markets.
Yes, possibly over-dramatic but I do still think that it is true.
The rare earths are the 15 lanthanides plus yttrium and scandium. My professional expertise is with scandium but of course I have a working knowledge of the others and the various marketplaces for them. I have also spent considerable time in recent years exploring the technologies of extraction and processing. I think I’m in a near unique position as an observer of this market: someone well versed in economics and also in the details of the technologies of this industry. It is this combination that leads to my perhaps idiosyncratic views. Read the rest of this entry »