International public policies regarding rare earths have centred around the basic question: What are the Chinese trying to do? Vasili Nicoletopoulos discusses Chinese concerns and policies and investigates just how smartly the rest of the world is reacting:
As with many controversial subjects in the minerals world, the questions surrounding rare earth elements (REE) have commercial as well as policy-making implications when addressing such key issues as geology, finance, processing, environment, market forces and recycling.
The need for policies on REE in both China and the rest of the world stems from an imperfect market, which cannot, or will not, address resource preservation, health and safety issues and environmental protection.
As the demand for REE has grown in the past 10 years with their increased use in new and established products such as permanent magnets, lasers, mobile phones, tablet devices and weapons defence applications, questions of security of...