From the Telegraph:
China's draconian export curbs on rare earth minerals needed by the rest of the world for frontier technologies is escalating into a serious diplomatic and trade clash with the United States and other leading powers.
Japan's foreign minister Katsuya Okada issued what amounted to a formal protest at top-level meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing over the weekend, saying the sudden cut-off was "affecting the global production chain".
It is the latest sign of rising pressure after angry complaints by companies outside China that rely on this family of 17 metals for hybrid cars, mobile phones, superconductors, navigation, and a host of high-tech industries.
China's commerce minister Chen Deming said that Beijing would not back down over the export quotas. "Mass-extraction of rare earth will cause great damage to the environment, that's why China has tightened controls," he said, repeating the official line.
Beijing set off shockwaves in early July when it announced a 72pc reduction in rare earth exports over the second half of this year. The country has acquired a near monopoly, with 97pc of global output after under-cutting the rest of the world with Mongolian ores in the 1990s. The sudden cut-off since July has drastically restricted supplies to the rest of world.
The last US mine shut 14 years ago, discouraged by tough US environmental rules. The US General Accounting Office said China now has a "dominant position" with market power. "Rebuilding a US rare earth supply chain may take up to 15 years," it said....MORESee also:
With a Name Like Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Hi-Tech Co., it has to be good ( 600111:Shanghai)
China: Ministry of Industry and Information Technology "Encouraging Consolidation In Rare Earth Sector"