Rare earths: the plot thickens

THESE – and other strategic metals – are in focus thanks to the threatened trade war. The Outcrop, by Robin Bromby.

Rare earths: the plot thickens Rare earths: the plot thickens Rare earths: the plot thickens Rare earths: the plot thickens Rare earths: the plot thickens

The US Geological Survey recently updated its list of America's import reliance in terms of minerals.

There are 21 upon which the US is 100% reliant. Of those, China is a supplier of 10. They are arsenic, fluorspar, gallium, graphite, indium, mica, quartz crystals, and rare earths, with scandium and yttrium listed separately, and also in that category.

It is the rare earths that concern us today, with some commentators suggesting that - with the threat of a trade war - Beijing could take America's queen with one daring move: cut off America's access to rare earths. (The same could apply, in varying degrees, to others such as those listed above - and even, for example, antimony where the US is dependent in imports for 85% of its supply and China is the big banana.)

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