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But can they make any products at all without Chinese Rare Earth materials? Production is at the end... I believe that is the Ace in the sleeve. Just jack the price of rare earth minerals 1000%, or temporarily halt production. It won't matter what country they are manufactured in if you can't get all of the parts you need, or get them economically...



Most other rare earth mines closed up because they couldn't compete with China's price (which was rumored to be HEAVILY subsidized to corner the market) if you increase the price of rare earth minerals 1000%, you will quickly see many of those mines re-activate, as they are now profitable to run.

For example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Pass_rare_earth_mine


Rare earth metals are not as rare as their name suggests, and there are plenty of mines outside of China capable of meeting demand for them. There hasn't been sufficient motivation to tap those mines yet, but that if there's money to be made (i.e. Beijing limits supply) then those mines will be up in a hurry.

The threat isn't empty but it's not really a trump card either.

This is all based off what I've read on the topic from mainstream news sources. I'm not an expert in this area.


Here's the register talking about the last time China decided to flex their rare earth monopoly; https://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/09/02/western_worlds_only...

Here's the same commentator more recently; https://www.theverge.com/2019/5/23/18637071/rare-earth-china...

Basically, yes, you can make them without Chinese rare earths, and it won't break the bank. You can just dig them up and process them elsewhere.


Yes. The U.S. can reopen the Mountain Pass mine, as was previously discussed on HN:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Pass_rare_earth_mine

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20055069 (Submission looks flagged now for some reason?)


This is about avoiding US import duties, not avoiding Chinese export bans.




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