Rare Earth and World Peace
Well, it is not just crude oil anymore. The availability of rare earth metal reserves to the industrialized world are also going to become strategic as well. The elements with atomic numbers between 57 to 71 on the periodic table are these metals. Lots of current and possibly future products, manufactured for world consumption, need these metals. They are used in jet engines, electric vehicles, medical equipments, communication equipments and wind turbines to name a few.
China seems to have most of the Rare Earth known global resources and currently the largest producer by far. The other commercially viable resources are concentrated in Australia, India, Canada and US. California and New Mexico are the states, in US, with significant reserves of these resources.
The details of this gathering issue is the subject of a congressional hearing to asses the impact on national security, should China start restricting the export of the rare earth metals and ores. An interruption in the supply chain can adversely affect the commercial and military capabilities of the industrialized nations. The developing countries may also experience some difficulties as well.
But there are alternatives and manufacturers have already started to move away from the usage of these metals in new products. There are global efforts in progress to recover them from the used equipments and gadgets as well. More manufacturing research are in order to further reduce their dependence.
AndIThoughT© …….. about what the world will have to endure to not go to war for these resources.