The Strategic Implications of China's Dominance of the Global Rare Earth Elements (REE) Market


  1. Neill, D.A.
  2. Speed, E.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Centre for Operational Research and Analysis, Ottawa ON (CAN)
Rare earths play a critical role in a wide variety of advanced military technologies. China’s de facto monopoly on rare earth mining and processing and its growing control over rare earth manufacturing enable Beijing to powerfully influence global supply. This poses a threat to some military capabilities of the US and its principal allies. China’s near-total domination of the rare earths market is likely to continue over the near term as Beijing works to consolidate its position as the principal global REE supplier. Even if the US and its allies take steps to launch, subsidize and protect domestic rare earth mining, processing and manufacturing industries, such measures will take time to become productive, and are unlikely to prevent near-term shortages of rare earth oxides, metals and finished products. Over the longer term, China’s domination of the rare earths market is likely to wane as its reserves are drawn down; as new sources of supply are developed; as recycling becomes increasingly cost-effective; as new technologies replace rare earth-dependent technologies; and as the governments of the advanced, industrialized states look at alternative means to implement ‘green’ policies and practices.

Il y a un résumé en français ici.

Rare Earth Elements;Rare Earth Oxides;Rare Earth Metals;Monopolies;Cost;Lanthanide series
Report Number
DRDC-CORA-TM-2012-204 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Sep 2012
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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