China weighs Rare Earth export ban

China has been accused of “weaponising” its grip on the rare earth metals needed for wind turbines and electric cars amid reports it is preparing a ban on exports of key technology.

Beijing is reportedly drawing up plans to block exports of technology needed to process and magnetise the metals, raising the spectre of shortages in the West given China’s dominance in the market.

Jack Richardson, an associate fellow at the Council on Geostrategy, said: “The Government should be very concerned, China has a strong position in the global economy built up since the eighties. It is seeking to corner the market in clean tech as it does in other sectors like steel. We need to join the Americans, Japanese, and others, and work together to water down China’s leverage.”

Paul Atherley, Chairman of UK rare earths refinery developer Pensana, said: “This represents a seismic shift from China’s previous position and brings an outright export ban one step closer.”

China said they would never introduce export restrictions on rare earths after 2011. The announcement appears to be a clear warning of its willingness to weaponize its dominant position in rare earths.”

Brian Menell, chairman of critical-metals investor TechMet, said: “The fact that there is a prospect of them using this weapon is very disturbing. It indicates the rise of the assertive confidence of China on the global stage and their sense that they can play these games”

Rare earths are a group of metals such as neodymium and dysprosium with used in high-tech uses, such as for making the permanent magnets that help wind turbines run.

Despite the name, the metals are abundant in the earth. China dominates the market in producing and processing them into usable products, however.

Its move to restrict technology exports comes as rival countries attempt to cut their reliance on China’s supply chains, wary of any escalation of tensions over Taiwan.

Gareth Hatch, a rare earth elements expert and boss of Strategic Materials Advisory, said the restrictions threatened to hit American and European companies with specialist equipment on order from China, such as furnaces and presses used to make magnets.

He said: “It can be a nine, twelve, eighteen-month lead time when you are ordering this kind of equipment, because the companies that manufacture it don’t sell thousands – they are done to order.

So if there are folks who placed their orders a while ago and the kit is on its way on a boat or in a warehouse somewhere, there’s going to be some concern now. Anyone who is relying on Chinese hardware, that’s going to be an issue.”

A spokesman for the Department for Business and Trade said: “It’s vital we have a secure supply of critical minerals for UK businesses, and that is precisely what our Critical Minerals Strategy will do.

The UK has recently signed several critical mineral agreements with key countries, including Canada and Australia, and our accession to CPTPP will help improve the resilience of our supply chains further.

The Government will continue to stand up for UK businesses, working with our friends and allies around the world on issues where our interests align.’’

Pensana plc (LON:PRE) explores and mines neodymium, praseodymium, and rare earth minerals. The Company’s flagship assets are the Saltend rare earth refinery project in the United Kingdom and Longonjo neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) Project in Angola.

Click to view all articles for the EPIC:
Or click to view the full company profile:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Pensana plc

More articles like this

Pensana plc

Pensana gets grant to work on rare earth magnet supply chain

Pensana has been awarded £316,643 in grant funding by Innovate UK under its CLIMATES programme to develop a low carbon sustainable supply chain for rare earth magnets. The company, based at Saltend, will work in partnership with Polestar,

Pensana plc

Pensana confirms rare-earth mineralisation at Angola target

Metals company Pensana on September 14 confirmed that the Sulima West laterite target at its Coola exploration project, in Angola, contains three main types of rare-earth minerals. This was confirmed as the company reported on the mineralogical characterisation studies – undertaken

Pensana plc

Rare earth projects to watch in Africa

Demand for Rare Earth Elements (REE) has surged due to electric vehicles, renewable energy technology and ICT growth. REEs present unique extraction challenges as they are typically found in dispersed, small amounts and in association with other minerals

Pensana plc

Pensana: A first mover in Angola’s mineral awakening

Pensana is forging ahead with the development of its Longonjo neodymium-praseodymium oxide (NdPr) project close to the city of Huambo in central Angola. Angola’s privatisation drive has resulted in a surge of new exploration projects by both major and

Pensana plc

Pensana reports sampling results from Coola Exploration Licence

Pensana plc (LON:PRE) has reported on analytical results received from sampling at the Sulima West and Benge Novo targets completed in 2022. Both targets occur within the Coola Exploration License (No059/02/01/T.P/ANG-MIREMPET/2020) located 40 kilometres north of Longonjo. Results

Pensana plc

Pensana Plc Longonjo operations update

Pensana Plc (LON:PRE) has provided an operations update on the Longonjo rare earth project. Highlights Following the revised financing and development strategy announced on the 27 June 2023, which will see Longonjo fully funded into production on a staged

Pensana plc

Europe’s potential in the global rare earth supply chain

As the global economy pivots towards greener and more innovative industries, the demand for critical raw materials – particularly rare earth elements – has become an issue of strategic importance. These materials, integral to the net zero, digital,

Pensana plc

How well is the UK doing at developing a critical minerals strategy?

Paul Atherley, Chairman of Pensana was interviewed in Resourcing Tomorrow’s channel to talk about the UK’s Critical Minerals Roadmap. Pensana plc (LON:PRE) explores and mines neodymium, praseodymium, and rare earth minerals. The Company’s flagship assets are the Saltend rare

Pensana plc

Researchers propose a circular economy for rare-earth elements

Rare-earth elements (REEs) are found in smartphones, plasma screens and even artificial joints. As components of wind turbines or electric motors, they play an important role in the production of clean energy. The battle for these valuable resources

Pensana plc

What are Rare Earth Minerals and why do EVs need them

When most people hear rare earth minerals, their minds immediately think it refers to the rarest minerals in the world. However, that is not the case. Rare earth minerals are among the most abundant minerals in the world.

No more posts to show