Saturday, March 17, 2012

Global Competition for Raw Materials

The following lines have been cited from People's Network, Beijing, on March 17, 2012:

Recently, the European Community, in alliance with the U.S.A. and Japan and with regard to China's export restrictions on 17 raw and processed materials including the Rare Earths, Tungsten and Molybdenum, raised [accusations] at the WTO [World Trade Organization]. This is just another step in sequence taken by the West to apply pressure on China when it comes to the [extreme] shortage of natural resources like the Rare Earths. The whole world's Rare Earth [material] emerges from what kind of supply structure ? And who has in his hands the power to fix the price of that Rare Earth material ? Those who don't find out are unable as well to understand the rights and wrongs of that matter affecting, both, the East and the West.

The Rare Earth [elements] are obviously [characterized by their extreme] shortage, their global distribution being uneven. Data are proving that from one hundred million tons of globally verified Rare Earth reserves, 36% are held by China, 19% by Russia, 13% by the U.S. and 5.5% by Australia. Monazite [mineral embedded in] Apatite deposit from South Africa's ... is the world's only single mineral ore accounting for Rare Earth mining from Monazite.

Comment by Ulysses:

Monazite is a mineral consisting of Rare Earth Phosphate while the main mineral Apatite is some kind of Calcium Phosphate. The Rare Earth material applied for technical use includes Cer and Lanthan as the main constituents. Usually, all other Rare Earth elements are present as well because of their particular character that makes it difficult to refine one single element by chemical means. As far as I know, Rare Earth metals are additives like Tungsten and Molybdenum, all of them used in the making of special steel for high-performance applications. The Rare Earth elements are used as well in catalysts (especially for oil cracking) and in laser applications.

The Chinese adaptation of the South African mine's local name has been skipped.

As to the use of Rare Earths in steel, refer to the following news item:

On October 28, 2011, China Steel Research Group and Hong Da Rare Earth Materials Ltd. in Shou Guang municipality signed an agreement of cooperation for the jointly financed foundation of Steel Research Group's Rare Earth Science and Technology Ltd. ...

Hong Da Ltd. in Shou Guang owns 5000 tons of Neodynium-Iron-Boron waste material that has been recycled to reenter the production line as well as 1500 tons of metal added Neodymium-Iron-Boron raw material of production line quality.

[Source: Website of the "Morning Sunlight" New Materials Ltd. (or: Chen Guan Rare Earth 晨光稀土) in Ganzhou (or: Jiangxi Province) 赣州晨光稀土新材料股份有限公司 on November 1, 2011.]

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