If your read the earlier post on Rare Earth you may have followed the link to the article about China and Japan Sparing over rare Earth materials, and it appears that the Chinese made the material less than available to the Japanese for the many applications they use the stuff for.. one being the hybrid autos like the Toyota Prius.
It doesn’t really matter how serious this little spat was, it was proof enough that China could cause a serious shortage of the material and really mess up the works for one or more countries. It seems there are now at least several countries who won’t allow this to happen again. Since this is now considered a strategic material, it will be stock piled high in three or more places outside of China.
It’ll be interesting to see exactly what the rising prices for RE was all about inside China, were the Chinese just getting greedy, or were they seeing increasing costs to mine and process this stuff? I doubt we’ll see a shortage of the material over the next 15 years, but will other countries produce the materials at the same costs? I can imagine the California mine could have 2 EPA marshals, and two CARB marshals following each and every union worker around, and for all we know, the EPA might require each worker to wear a space suit while mining the stuff?
One thing we know, China is a little like the wild west, and you never really know what kind of games they may play to strap a competitor. A Chinese Magnet Company may even send out poor quality components to one company in order to favor another, how would you know for sure? The way they do bussiness is way different than what Western people expect, fact is, too many Westerners think the rest of the world is just like Kansas, many in the West are easy marks.
Whatever reality is, it’s nice to know that Maylasia, Canada, Australia and the USA are expected to be on line soon. But it’s not enough to mine it, we need a number of suppliers of custom magnets built to order to assure the Chinese don’t screw with the supply. No trust here.
Now, if our leaders would just pull their heads out of the sand, and realize how many risks they are taking on other fronts, the lack of reasonably priced Energy could kill off at least a thrid of the people in third world, we feed them with cheap energy and if it doubles or triples like Obama said he’d like to see, it would take us back to the dark ages. There are crops left in the field today because the farmer can’t pay for the diesel to harvest the crop at present pricing. Double fuel costs, and we’ll lose a market for export… because they’ll not be able to afford to buy it..
The biggest mistake we can all make is thinking our elected officals have a plan, they’re all busy figuring out who to bribe to stay in power and where they’ll get the money to do it.. Get your garden planted.
Ohhh to be six years old again, to have a dog and experience one long summer, remember? It felt liek half a lifetime.