China may only have 30 percent of the rare earths in the world, but they essentially have a monopoly--which the rest of the world has been tirelessly trying to work around. (To wit: Japan looks to Vietnam, the U.S. looks to California and Missouri, everyone looks under the sea.) In a slightly devilish business move, China sought to tighten their grip and raise prices by eliminating all sales to its major buyers, the U.S., Japan, and Europe, for one month.
During the sales freeze, China is also consolidating its various rare earths businesses and buying more rare earths. At the moment, about 60 percent of the country's rare earths supply is controlled by a single company, called Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth. That company is artificially created and listed as a state-owned company, as China has already forced some 35 local companies to either absorb into Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth, or fade away.
Analysts, according to the AP, think the plan will probably work; rare earths prices have been sliding downward lately, a trend China would certainly like to reverse, and it'll also give the country an opportunity to work on its locally-produced rare earths magnet industry--a much more profitable enterprise than simply selling raw materials. Of course, it's not going to do much to discourage, you know, every other country on the planet from trying to find an alternative to buying rare earths from China.
...and while China is halting the flow of rare earth elements (not all of which are actually very rare) the world will loosen it's dependency on them.
why learn from your own mistakes, when you could learn from the mistakes of others?
“The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible” -Albert Ein
-my name here- Opec did the same thing. Sad to say I don't think that will be the case anytime soon but I'm with you, I'd love to see a bunch of smart engineers find alternatives to these minerals.
I agree, but the problem is less smart engineers they do all the work, but its the dumb politicians and ignorant and stubborn consumers who really hold back industrial progress,
-less Government is more order, more order is less government-
Im sure the Afgans will thank China for this move.
They have a very VERY large and untapped supply. The only problem is its hard to get to. Some of the domestic mines in the US closed down as well due to cheap China imports. All this is going to do is fuel alternative material research and supply.
another reason I wish Donald Trump had a milder personality and ran for president.
China is a nun whipping us in the face with a yard stick. The question is...... are we going to learn from it?
Necessity is the mother of invention! This absolute fact and as fast as China horde is minerals I wish USA to horde our own knowledge of how to be energy independent with easy free resources. We can live a nation of prosperity and not be a people of without over population and ignorance like China. We are a nation of quality in all the things; we do and work hard in life and progress! HELLO USA, It is our strife for knowledge, better ourselves, work hard that is our independence, our FREEDOM, our DEMOCRACY and MORE!!!!!!!!!
The Middle East owns all the oil, we have plenty of alternatives available, and yet we use oil products for the vast majority of our energy needs. I don't see this being any different where China is involved when it involves rare-earths...
The world should all boycott China for trying to control the worlds resources that are critical. It's time the world gangs up on China and puts them in there place--which like the little 2 year old girl who got run over twice and ignored by 18 Chinese passerbys--is not fit to be the world's monopoly king.
The United States occupies more than 1000 military bases all over our planet. These bases are there to control the flow of cheap resources and labor, so those in the US who benefit from the massive death and destruction that the United States brings to other people in pursuit of profit for banking and business interests, profits reaped from energy and mineral sources stolen from purposely-impoverished and oppressed people, need not bad-mouth China for their actions.
The wars (all six of them) that the US is engaged in and the US-imposed dictatorial regimes in the Middle East and Central and South America are all over resources. Afghanistan for example:
Libya's overthrow had nothing to do with people seeking democracy:
Now Western oil companies are dividing up the oil and gas resources of Libya, just as they are dividing up Iraq's resources.
Quit naively believing the propaganda of Mainstream media script-readers, and do a little research for yourselves to discouver how our world really works. It's always about Empire, and control of resources. Always.
With an impending financial breakdown of their own, this comes as no surprise. If we can move on to another supplier (lets face it, there are plenty) this may shoot China in the foot though. It would be great if we could get our manufacturing out of there as well. Producing our own items again would greatly help our economy and unemployment rate.
Ti....yme! Is on USA side! Yes it is!
House Natural Resources Committee:
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources -
Oversight Hearing on "Strategic and Critical Minerals Policy: Domestic Minerals Supplies and Demands in a time of Foreign Supply Disruptions"
Testimony of Mr. Ed Richardson
President, U.S. Magnetic Materials Association
May 24, 2011
Some of us have been writing about this issue for a long time, as my articles show from over a year ago.
Fortunately, the situation has improved and Molycorp has resumed mining of rare earth minerals in the US, projecting that they could meet total US demand by 2012.
Therefore, much of this is the last gasp of China exercising a temporary monopoly. People's hysterical reactions to this are largely based upon ignorance and hype. Yes, rare earth mining is environmentally polluting. China doesn't give a sh*t about polluting right now, but the rest of the world knows that can't keep doing that forever. Yes, we are also working on alternatives to so-called rare earth materials. Anyone who thinks that the US, or any other country, wouldn't try to do the same petty things as China if they were in a position to do so is likely delusional. Also those who want to use this to flog "big government" or "big business" can always spin facts. The fact is that both government policy and corporate greed drove the decision to stop mining in the US, because all parties thought it would be cheaper and easier to rely on China and other countries. Greed is often a short-sighted thing, however, and China has proven that it too can be greedy. The rest is just crying over spilled milk.
Cold fusion man, that's the answer.
If America embraces LFTRs and Thorium we can begin re-mining rare earth minerals in the US.
Regarding your point and link about the Afghan war being about rare earth minerals:
I think you should look up who has bought the rights to mine those minerals.
We need to do smarter things in the US. For example, how about not just handing over the mineral rights to the recently discovered $1 trillion reserve of lithium metal found in Afghanistan, to the Chinese? We're spilling blood and spending a fortune over there, and the Chinese are getting the mineral rights???
Or, better yet, we should be looking to the future 20-30 years, and planning more in the way of robotic near-Earth asteroid mining for these metals as well. That is definitely achievable with current tech, and a little vision...
You're right to point out that China bought it. However, it's probably a chinese company that is owned by americans or other multinationals. US companies do lots of manufacturing in china where the labor is dirt cheap. Also, if you look at where China is in relation to afghanistan,(i.e. right next to it) then it makes sense that they would try to exploit this resource. However, I agree with you and pete that normally it wouldn't make sense for us to do these things. But the problem is that the US military is often put at the service of multinational companies over the interests of the american people who have to fight and die for those corporations to profit.
But they are socialists. Shouldn't they let the world have them?
D13 doesn't have a clue. Naturally, he thinks he's some kind of genius, when he's actually the reason that many Americans are too ignorant to compete with China. It's because people like him think they have it all figured out that we wasted all this time screaming about the "(phony) War on Christmas" and "hanging the Ten (Commandments)", even though there is no such thing as the Ten Commandments in the Bible.
As far as the science, Helium 3 is a ridiculous fuel source. For one thing, it's not nearly as abundant as some people seem to think on the Moon. It would require extensive processing of tons of lunar regolith to provide even a tiny amount of fuel. It's not clear why people would waste that effort when they can get far more abundant energy in space just by using a solar collector. The sun is always shining when you're in space, as long as nothing is blocking you.
Jesus didn't make this country great. People using their brains, instead their stone age superstitions, are what made this country great. If anyone wants to debate this then head over to biblicalaaronc.blogspot.com. I know the Bible a lot better than most bible literalists and I'm happy to show you why it's often just a bunch of BS.
No, I know far more than you about it, and I also can write, unlike you, with your vritually illiterate rambling. Your so called source was propaganda garbage.
The fact is that He3 is found at 20 parts per billion in regolith. Getting it extracted and off the moon and back to Earth would currently be way more expensive than producing it in reactors. There is platinum on the moon too. Why don't you go mine that and get back to us.
Furthermore, there is no reason to think the Chinese could set up massive industrial operations on this scale on the Moon when they haven't even landed there once yet. They would not be the first on the Moon either, so there would be no conquering involved. We already went there 40 years ago, so they would have no legal priority, nor could they control every square inch of the Moon militarily and keep other nations off it. This is just propaganda by people silly enough to think they can hype another space race and a cold war between the US and China.
Shove your Christmyth, since you're too much of a coward to come to my site and debate me.
I already told you how much he3 you can expect -- 20 parts per billion. So you only have to process a measly billion tons of lunar regolith to get about 20 tons of it and then you have to move this 20 tons somewhere that needs it, like all the way back to Earth. What does it cost to get something onto the surface of the Moon? Only around a million dollars a pound. How much mining and processing equipment will the Chinese need to bring to process a billion tons of regolith. Maybe they could squeak by with a few thousand tons of equipment. Oh, but I'm sure they're going to build things on site, right? That will take more equipment to smelt and manufacture.
Son, I was reading about helium 3 schemes when you were still crapping in your diaper.
And you're the one who tried to turn this into a rant about religion and multiculturalism. Now you don't have the guts to actually defend any of that, or the alleged science that you said you had.
Ok Aarontco, I digress and I answer you. Forget the fact that only a small amount of it would power our country for a long time, and forget that the cost of getting a small amount of it would be minimal compared to the energy costs involved in running this country for a single day even, guess what? There is already a market for it. Yep our current tritium breaks down into He3 and its sold in certain markets. Besides the fact that it has less nuclear waste and produces more energy, than current tritium, it takes less of it and it makes a perfect fuel source (next to Boron 11) for our ever growing planet. You will need that energy to run your waste of a website.
"Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth. There is no spoon."
Did I mention there is already a market for it? Now, lets get down some other points too. Your 20 parts per billion is relative to the amount of concentration in a given area. Most of the stuff is right on the surface too, not burried deep in the Regolith. Maybe you would dig deeper around craters "maybe" but lets get it all straight. Only the initial cost of the getting the mining equiptment up there is expensive part and its still, from end-to-end, around $250m - $500m. Once its there though, it producing with only 600 watts a day, over 300kg of the stuff, already processed. Thats small though. Imagine what your abundant "solar power" is really going to produce do in space though...produce much more than 600 watts, I assure you. So there you go, I agree that your soloar power is quite useful at producing energy. (The energy needed for robots to process He3 on the moon :D )
Now, so much to talk about but I think this will do it best, and this was quite public:
Today, the world's supply of Helium-3 can be counted in hundreds of kilograms, and the value of 100 kg would be $400M. So it may be assumed that the total stockpile value today is roughly about one billion USD. The US DOE does sell He3 commercially, but how much of the present stockpile has actually been sold on the open market is an open question. Assuming that someone were to start at the level of collecting 100kg of He3 from the Moon and assume its value would be $400M, the cost of soft landing even a small probe on to the lunar surface may easily cost more than $200M. How much He3 a small lander would manufacture and how many grams per day have yet to be determined. Production will be determined by the method of processing.
A commonly discussed method is cooking the regolith to about 1400 degrees Fahrenheit or 760 degrees Celsius. They describe three steps: 1) heat to a few hundred deg C to drive off the volatiles 2) fractional distillation to decant off the heavy volatiles 3) separate He3 from the He4 using the standard superleak process. Two challenges are devising a method to process large quantities of regolith as the He3 is at a low concentration, and providing a high power thermally efficient heat source on the Moon. This would need a large amount of energy, requiring the lander to have either a nuclear source (either Nuclear Fission or RTG), or large solar panels. Basalt has specific heat capacity of 0.24 degreeC or 0.84 KJkg degreeK. To heat 1kg of basalt by 700 degrees Celsius requires about 600 KJ. The highest concentration of He3 in the Maria regions is 0.01ppm in the regolith. This means that 600 KJ will yield 0.01 milligrams of He3. Using these numbers, a 600 Watt power source could produce 0.01 milligrams of He3 per second : 0.6 mg/minute : 36mg/hour : 864mg/day : 315 grams per year. Whether this business concept is viable depends on how quickly a group or entity wants to amortize their investment. If an arbitrary target is to produce 100 kg He3 in one year, then a power source of about 200 KW would be needed. That would give a revenue stream of $400M per year if the He3 market does not become flooded causing a price drop.
A Solar Power based system would be in darkness 50 percent of the time, so would need to operate at 400 KW. If it were on a lunar polar mountain top it might be in near continuous illumination. Assuming a best case scenario of 100 percent lighting, 10 percent photo voltaic efficiency and a fully steerable array, this would need an area of about 2000 square meters, or about 45 meters on a square side. A simple non-PV solar reflector could be near 100 percent efficient, needing only 200 square meters or about 14 meters on a square side, or aperture. Setting up a 14 meter aperture mirror on the Moon would be a major engineering challenge, although it would not need to be particularly accurate as in the case of an astronomical telescope mirror."
I did not make any argument about rel i gion, it was about the traditions and beliefs that made this country. Please be quiet now.
So glad to meet your ego too, Im sure the person behind it is less interesting.
Good day sir.
Ooops, I meant 800kg a year running at 600w per/day. My bad. I opened the can and so much poured out. Got all giddy and fat fingered :)