Concerns are rising over Chinese dominance in the realm of rare earths metals processing. This is a problem that I spend a lot of time never worrying about. 

Despite their name, rare earths aren’t all that rare. The byproducts of other metals refining and production (such as lead) and if anything, the production process takes a lot of time and effort. Chinese state policy of subsidizing industry (and caring absolutely not one whit about environmental impacts) allowed the Chinese to become leaders in rare earths metals processing at a truly global scale. And the rest of the world has largely been happy to outsource their needs to subsidized Chinese production. 

This isn’t to say that the Chinese couldn’t–and haven’t–attempted some shenanigans. But manufacturing states dependent on Chinese production have been steadily building up strategic reserves, and countries like the United States, Australia, and Malaysia have been increasing investments into processing capacity. There will be a ramp up process, six to twelve months at most. Some supply tightness, but nothing insurmountable. Definitely not something worth keeping you up at night. 

If you enjoy our free newsletters, the team at Zeihan on Geopolitics asks you to consider donating to Feeding America.

The economic lockdowns in the wake of COVID-19 left many without jobs and additional tens of millions of people, including children, without reliable food. Feeding America works with food manufacturers and suppliers to provide meals for those in need and provides direct support to America’s food banks.

Food pantries are facing declining donations from grocery stores with stretched supply chains. At the same time, they are doing what they can to quickly scale their operations to meet demand. But they need donations – they need cash – to do so now.

Feeding America is a great way to help in difficult times.

The team at Zeihan on Geopolitics thanks you and hopes you continue to enjoy our work.


Recommended Posts