Thursday, August 27, 2009

American hubris can't continue.

America's delusion that we can just presume the rest of the world will continue to cough up their natural resources on demand is nearly over. It was, after all, fairly idiotic to think that our 5% of the world's population could continue to command 40% of the world's natural resources for our own use, at the expense of the people of other nations. Yet somehow, Americans still think they are entitled to just keep getting the resources they want from other countries, and that the other countries would just keep handing then over.

Not any more.

UK Telegraph Online
World faces hi-tech crunch as China eyes ban on rare metal exports
Beijing is drawing up plans to prohibit or restrict exports of rare earth metals that are produced only in China and play a vital role in cutting edge technology, from hybrid cars and catalytic converters, to superconductors, and precision-guided weapons.
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Published: 5:58PM BST 24 Aug 2009

A draft report by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has called for a total ban on foreign shipments of terbium, dysprosium, yttrium, thulium, and lutetium. Other metals such as neodymium, europium, cerium, and lanthanum will be restricted to a combined export quota of 35,000 tonnes a year, far below global needs.

China mines over 95pc of the world’s rare earth minerals, mostly in Inner Mongolia. The move to hoard reserves is the clearest sign to date that the global struggle for diminishing resources is shifting into a new phase. Countries may find it hard to obtain key materials at any price....

...“This isn’t about the China holding the world to ransom. They are saying we need these resources to develop our own economy and achieve energy efficiency, so go find your own supplies”, he said.

...New technologies have since increased the value and strategic importance of these metals, but it will take years for fresh supply to come on stream from deposits in Australia, North America, and South Africa. The rare earth family are hard to find, and harder to extract...

...No replacement has been found for neodymium that enhances the power of magnets at high heat and is crucial for hard-disk drives, wind turbines, and the electric motors of hybrid cars. Each Toyota Prius uses 25 pounds of rare earth elements. Cerium and lanthanum are used in catalytic converters for diesel engines. Europium is used in lasers.

Blackberries, iPods, mobile phones, plams TVs, navigation systems, and air defence missiles all use a sprinkling of rare earth metals. They are used to filter viruses and bacteria from water, and cleaning up Sarin gas and VX nerve agents...

...New uses are emerging all the time, and some promise quantum leaps in efficiency. The Tokyo Institute of Technology has made a breakthrough in superconductivity using rare earth metals that lower the friction on power lines and could slash electricity leakage.

The Japanese government has drawn up a “Strategy for Ensuring Stable Supplies of Rare Metals”. It calls for `stockpiling’ and plans for “securing overseas resources’. The West has yet to stir.


The West still can't believe the peasants are revolting.

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