China has dominated the market in recent years, and by 2017 it produced more than 80% of the world’s supply. Beijing has achieved this by pouring resources into the research and mining of rare earth elements for decades, establishing six major state-owned companies, and relaxing environmental regulations to implement methods. high pollution and low cost method. The country then rapidly ramped up its exports of rare earths in the 1990s, a sudden rush that bankrupted international competitors. Further development of rare earth industries is a strategic goal of Beijing’s Made in China 2025 strategy.
The country has repeatedly demonstrated its dominance, most notably blocking all resource shipments to Japan in 2010 during a maritime dispute. State media have warned that China could do the same to the United States.
The United States and other Western nations have seen this monopoly as an important weakness for their side. As a result, they have spent billions of dollars in recent years to better find, mine and process minerals.
In early June 2022, Canadian mining company Appia announced it had found new resources in Saskatchewan. Within weeks, the American company USA Rare Earth announced a new processing facility in Oklahoma.
Dragonbridge is engaged in similar activity in 2021, shortly after the US military signed an agreement with Australian mining company Lynas, the largest rare earths company outside of China, to build a processing plant. in Texas.