China’s rare earth monopoly is crumbling

Some while ago, precious rare earths important in the production of microchips, electronics, and electric motors were almost exclusively sourced in China. In recent years, several nations have picked up production again while new players entered the market, diversifying it at least to some degree.

Yet, China was still responsible for more than two-thirds of global production, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. But as many countries are wary of depending on China, especially when it comes to technology products, countries with rare earth deposits are likely to exploit them further.

China also has the largest known deposits of rare earths, but Brazil, Vietnam, and Russia also have a lot of (largely) untapped potential in the sector. The United States, together with Australia, emerged as a major producer of rare earths after 2010. The country, which has produced rare earths before for military uses, got back into the market as rare earths were getting more important as a part of the implementation of crucial technologies.