Rare Earths News And Its Significance
Rare earths news deals with something that is not really ncommon.It is made up of seventeen elements that are quite common. However, concentrations of these are not found in many places. Fifteen oxides of the element lanthanide are included in rare earth, and also the periodic elements scandium, and yttrium.
One hypothesis is that the elements concerned entail a significantly unusual combination of minerals and events which make the planet earth an uncommon place in the universe. If this is true than it is unlikely that complex life forms will exist outside of Earth since the planet is unique. However, the contrary view is that Earth is a common rocky planet in the universe. If this is true, it follows that life similar to that found on Earth will probably exist elsewhere in the universe. So, the issue of whether we will ever discover aliens in space is connected with the geological origins of the earth.
The element, ‘Yterite’ is named after a place in Sweden where it was discovered around 1800. The remaining constituent elements were isolated one by one as the years unfolded. As technology has evolved the elements have become more useful as components of sophisticated technology. With its growing importance in manufacture have come social and political considerations.
Recent technological inventions have widened the range of uses for this substance, so demand for it has increased rapidly, leading to greater financial significance. It is used in batteries and magnets, and tv sets. With the great push towards electrification of cars, and more complex military equipment it is expected that the demand will increase further into the future.
Originally rare earth was produced in India and Brazil. Large deposits were discovered in South Africa around 1950 and this was the main source of the elements for some years. When China began to move away from centralized government toward a market driven economy it became the main source of supply. It is produced mainly in Inner Mongolia, and also in some smaller mines in the south. China now produces about 90% of the world’s supply.
With China’s membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) came many trading opportunities and also some obligations and global regulations. Members are obliged to observe certain trade practices, and conform to standards of production. Governments must also abstain from undue interference in trade for political and military purposes.
Some WTO members have been concerned that China, with 90% of the world’s resources, has imposed some bans on export, and restrictions on production. It has been claimed that this is for political purposes and will give China strategic advantages in military and political spheres. There have been representations at the WTO forum.
However, China claims to be motivated solely by environmental concerns. It argues that radio activity and toxic waste are by-products of rare earth production, and that strict regulation and control is necessary to protect the environment, and prevent pollution. It rejects the claim that it is using its dominance as a rare earth producer to threaten other countries.