Interesting times indeed. Rare earths and other energy wars

The impending war over rare earths!  A good find on the comments thread on the hydrogen bubble.  

Lithium, Cobalt, & Rare Earths_ The Post-Petroleum Resource Race _ ZeroHedge

And here’s a further complication: for a number of the most critical materials, including lithium, cobalt,and those rare-earth elements, production is highly concentrated in just a few countries, a reality that could lead to the sort of geopolitical struggles that accompanied the world’s dependence on a fewmajor sources of oil. According to the IEA, just one country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC), currently supplies more than 80% of the world’s cobalt, and another — China — 70% of its rare-earth elements. Similarly, lithium production is largely in two countries, Argentina and Chile, which jointly account for nearly 80% of world supply, while four countries — Argentina, Chile, the DRC, and Peru — provide most of our copper. In other words, such future supplies are far more concentrated in far fewer lands than petroleum and natural gas, leading IEA analysts to worry about future strugglesover the world’s access to them.

Mark Mills made similar comments in his broad appraisal of the dangerous consequences of the Biden revolution. 

He noted that replacing a standard car with an EV means a greater-than-tenfold increase in the quantity of material (liquids) that is used by a standard car over its entire operating life. Global mining already uses nearly twice as much petroleum as the entire country of Germany, and that’s before the emerging “gold rush” for energy minerals. The global push for EVs will drive up demand for a variety of other energy minerals from 200% to 8,000%.

The United States is, in general, 100% dependent on imports for 17 critical minerals, including those used in green machines, and over half of our domestic needs are imported for another 29.

Not to mention the 90% of solar panels and 80% of key components of wind turbines that are imported.

This means that buying green-machine components is essentially an export of both jobs and hydrocarbon consumption…For example, in 2018, the Netherlands’s government sponsored an analysis of mineral demands associated with its own green energy goals. The study concluded that following a “Green New Deal”-style plan in the Netherlands would require the country alone to consume a major share of current global minerals production.

And then there is the 5-minute video by Mark MillsPractically says it all!

On the topic of Biden’s energy policies, check out the rank insanity of his offshore wind ambitions

The idea is to generate some 30 gigawatts (30,000 megawatts) of wind capacity by 2030, ensuring the U.S. “leads by example” in fighting the “climate crisis.” From a standing start, installing between 2,500 and 5,000 massive turbines. Not that the amount of power will be massive compared with the onshore demand.

The only existing U.S. offshore wind operation features five 6-MW turbines off Rhode Island. Their combined capacity (what they could generate if they worked full-bore, round the clock 24/7) is 30 MW. Mr. Biden is planning 1,000 times more offshore electricity, perhaps split three ways: 10,000 MW for each coast.

While that might sound impressive, it isn’t. It means total wind capacity for the entire Atlantic coast, under Biden’s plan, would only meet three-fourths of the peak summertime electricity needed to power New York City. Again, this assumes the blades are fully spinning 24/7. In reality, such turbines would be lucky to be operating a top capacity half the time. Even less as storms and salt spray corrode the turbines, year after year.

The reason why is there is often minimal or no wind in the Atlantic – especially on the hottest days. Ditto for the Gulf of Mexico. No wind means no electricity – right when you need it most.

Of course, too little wind isn’t the only issue. Other times, there’s too much wind – as when a hurricane roars up the coast. That’s more likely in the Gulf of Mexico. But the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 had Category 4 winds in Virginia, Category 3 intensity off Cape Hatteras (NC), Long Island and Rhode Island, and Category 2 when it reached Maine. It sank four U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships.

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18 Responses to Interesting times indeed. Rare earths and other energy wars

  1. FlyingPigs says:

    not forgetting

    The African slavery behind the leftists’ green dreams

    https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2021/05/the_african_slavery_behind_the_leftists_green_dreams.html

  2. mareeS says:

    Son works in mining and minerals, says Australia is right to be hesitant, Africa will be raped.

  3. m0nty says:

    The impending war over rare earths

    Mmyes, and fossil fuels have caused zero wars. And have zero potential to cause future wars.

    Turn it up.

  4. Rex Anger says:

    Mmyes, and fossil fuels have caused zero wars. And have zero potential to cause future wars.

    Turn it up.

    Your herring is as red as your Little Red Book, m0nty…

  5. Chris M says:

    South Australia and Western Australia have all these minerals plus more.

  6. FlyingPigs says:

    Chris M says:
    May 26, 2021 at 11:13 pm
    South Australia and Western Australia have all these minerals plus more.

    Not with Australian communist bureaucrats and their politician mouthpieces in place, we don’t.

  7. FlyingPigs says:

    Mmyes, and fossil fuels have caused zero wars. And have zero potential to cause future wars.

    why yes m0nty, your quite correct…

  8. Rafe Champion says:

    Thanks Monty, no thread is complete without your incisive and creative contribution!

  9. johanna says:

    It is not that these minerals are rare, it is that processing them to comply with Western environmental standards is very expensive. It is made much more expensive than it should be thanks to the multiple layers of approvals and endless lawfare that greets anyone who tries to engage in mining in Australia.

    So, we have the paradox of do-gooders trying to stop mining under strict conditions in Australia, thereby ensuring that Chinese people are getting poisoned.

    But, they care. Yes they really do!

  10. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Hasn’t been much reported but Greenies have recently prevented mining of the world’s largest undeveloped rare earth deposit.

    Greenland’s left-wing IA party forms new government, vows to block rare-earth mine (17 Apr)

    Greenland’s left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit party (IA), which has pledged to oppose a large rare-earth mining project, announced a new government coalition on Friday, as it reiterated its strong environmental stance and vowed to combat acute social issues.

    IA’s victory sent a strong signal to international mining companies interested in mineral-rich Greenland. The party campaigned against a controversial rare-earth mining project at Kvanefjeld in the south of the island.

    “We have something that money can’t buy,” Egede said. “We will do everything we can to stop the Kvanefjeld project.”

    It’s a huge irony that Greens in Greenland are blocking the production of metals that Greens want for Green energy.

  11. johanna says:

    Nice catch, Bruce.

    BTW, what are ‘acute social issues?’

    Are they the opposite of ‘obtuse social issues?’

    Just wondering. 🙂

  12. Rafe Champion says:

    Thanks johanna, we need to produce an updated lexicon of newspeak terminology. See the Appendix to Orwell’s 1984. Note the timeline was 2050, not 1984 that was inversion of 1948 when the book was published. The Appendix, very important reading in light of the recent acceleration of the process that Orwell saw happening a generation ago.

  13. Kneel says:

    “Mmyes, and fossil fuels have caused zero wars. And have zero potential to cause future wars. “

    Ah – so you agree that very specific high value substances that can be mined or otherwise extracted that are not uniformly distributed geographically can lead to war?
    Did you consider that it may be the case (I don’t know, but it sounds like it) that the “new, green” required minerals are even more concentrated in even less countries and so more likely to cause “issues”?
    Or that such materials actually require considerable amounts of energy to extract and process – perhaps even to the extent that they in fact increase CO2 emissions, rather than reduce them, over their lifetime?
    Or that such “new, green” technologies produce non-recyclable waste in large volumes (eg, 80+m composite wind turbine blades that need to be replaced every 10-15 years)?
    Or that such technologies are very much inferior in terms of useful life (20-50% of equivalent fossil fuel infrastructure)?
    Or that there are several LENR projects that appear to have the potential to create non-CO2 producing energy and use widespread and readily available “fuels” that are neither radioactive nor toxic nor even flammable, that produce no radiation during use, and whose waste products are neither radioactive nor toxic nor flammable and are actually of some value to industry (although not in very much volume, I admit). That such researched projects would require well less than what just Australia spends on renew-a-bubble subsidies for just one year to see if they actually can be scaled up to industrial levels (the “research” part is done, they need the “development” part done)?
    No?
    You see, there ARE alternatives. But the very fact that no-one can “corner a market” in “must have” materials means no-one wants to invest in them. And social media cancel culture and the safety na*i “prove it’s safe before you even start” brigade won’t let you TRY to do it anyway, and even if you ignore them and succeed, they’ll put so much regulation and litigation in your way even Gates, Soros or Zuckerberg wouldn’t have the resources to bring it to market. Which is odd to say the least – the very people who say “use less” are forcing us onto the path that “uses more” for the same result.

  14. max says:

    There’s simply not a shortage of available rare earths. All there is is a shortage of plants to process them.

  15. m0nty says:

    Ah – so you agree that very specific high value substances that can be mined or otherwise extracted that are not uniformly distributed geographically can lead to war?

    The point I was making, Kneel, is that fossil fuels have started far more wars than green energy materials are likely to, and even if there is a war over lithium or whatever, it will be better than the current situation where OPEC has the planet by the balls (yes, still) and Russia can use its resources as leverage as with that pipeline to Germany that has been in the news.

    Rafe is a past master of the perfect solution fallacy. It is a false dilemma to argue against green tech because it is not flawless. All it has to be is better than fossil fuels. And it is definitely better on so many levels.

  16. Rex Anger says:

    The point I was making, Kneel, is that fossil fuels have started far more wars than green energy materials are likely to,

    Which ones, m0ntard?

    Rafe is a past master of the perfect solution fallacy. It is a false dilemma to argue against green tech because it is not flawless.

    You’re so cute when you project…

  17. Kneel says:

    “It is a false dilemma to argue against green tech because it is not flawless. All it has to be is better than fossil fuels. And it is definitely better on so many levels.”

    Oh, I certainly agree things don’t need to be perfect.
    They do, of necessity, need to be practical – both in engineering and economic terms. And also in environmental terms, right?
    It seems to me that RE fails on all three – it is not “fit for purpose” in engineering terms given our needs, it is not cheaper without taxes on FF or subsidies for itself, and it not only creates a vast amount of environmental damage to create, it also leaves behind huge quantities of toxic, non-recyclable material after a fairly abbreviated life (about 40% of FF infrastructure life, which in truth is usually bound by economic considerations rather than technical).
    If CO2 is really a major concern, then go nuclear – and for the “waste” issue, you can use CSIRO’s syn-rock and put it back where it came from. After all, we are consuming radioactivity to produce the power, right? So mix the refined stuff back with the tailings, glassify it, and put it back where you found it – it’s probably LESS likely to cause issues than before you mined it!

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