China Threatens U.S. Alt Energy Plans

“Rare earths are more a Chinese thing than oil is an OPEC thing,” begins Byron King today. (Rare earths are hard-to-pronounce metals and minerals that, while in small supply, are found in seemingly every high-tech gadget around the world).

“The Chinese are running 95% of world output, and virtually all of the final refining and smelting… the U.S. left the biz about 10 years ago, and Japanese left it about four years ago.


“Rare earths are critical to all future ‘green’ energy, especially with things like permanent magnets for windmills (not to mention the rare earths that go into those ‘efficient’ light bulbs.) Every large windmill, for example, requires about 560 pounds of a rare earth called neodymium, for the permanent magnet within the turbine system. There’s no substitute for neodymium. People have gone through the entire periodic chart, and only neodymium will work in large permanent magnets.

“The U.S. has NO locale for manufacturing permanent magnets. None. Zilch.”

“The West had better get serious about rare earths or we’re forfeiting the key industries of the 21st century to China.”

The Daily Reckoning