The Communist minerals hegemony and the joy of regulation

No technologically important and widespread industry ever began in a regulated environment. 

While the progressive leftwing forces in the west set out to destroy our cultural heritage and the foundations of  peace, freedom and prosperity, the Chinese set out to control the production of critically important minerals. That was a deliberate decision over a decade ago. At the same time the progressive forces ramped up the regulation of industry, and especially the constraints on nuclear power and derivatives of mining that could be classified as dangerous due to Thorium residues.

This four-minute video is a 2019  heads-up on the vulnerability of the west to the Chinese domination of the rare earths supply chain. At the time the Trump administration was alert to the danger and started to make some moves. Recently the Biden administration has picked up the ball on this.

This current piece paints an expansive  picture of the world of rare earth production and the Chinese domination.

The Chinese began building their now-dominant supply chain decades ago. The U.S. has been 100% net import reliant on rare-earth elements, with 80 percent of those imports sourced from China.

Failure to take bold, ongoing action will doom the USA – and other Western nations – to submission to China’s iron grip on 21st Century technology.

Unchallenged, China could choose to expand its empire southward and eastward, as Western voices are muted by their utter dependence on Chinese “generosity” in supplying materials for smart phones, wind turbines, electric vehicles, defense and aerospace technologies, and more. China could also continue to force U.S. and other Western companies to “share” their most valuable corporate and national security secrets, and even their profits, with their Chinese “benefactors.”

A longer video turned up in the comments on that piece. It is always dangerous to go into the comments because one thing leads to another and planned tasks get put aside. My to do list did not include a post on the Chinese control of rare earths. It is 20 minutes and I bailed out at 15. Some nerdish Cats will be intrigued by the material on the heavier and lighter rare earths and the economics of mining them. At 14 minuts you get to the money quote. No technologically important and widespread industry ever began in a regulated environment. 

One of the themes in addition to the Chinese takeover is the way that extreme risk aversion, like the reaction to the so-called pandemic,  has been used by predatory regulators like the EPA in the United States, to close down indutries wherever Thorium was one of the elements in the process.

This is it, have a look at the start and see how long you last. It dates from 2014 when some Australian firms were going down the drain mining rare earths, I suspect things have changed.

BONUS. The cost of the converting to electric vehicles, including the amount of extra power. WARNING Big Number Alert. 

UPDATE.  A bit of record  breaking cold weather about in South Australia!

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35 Responses to The Communist minerals hegemony and the joy of regulation

  1. Chris M says:

    For articles like this although longer it would be helpful to refer to Chinese Communists as distinct from the people of China, the majority of which are poor and likely have no dog in this fight.

    And just a reminder, if not propped up by the west the past few decades we wouldn’t be talking about this problem and covid19 would not have been invented. Commo’s always burn and sink when left alone to float. Just takes a couple of generations.

  2. Strayan Drongo says:

    I have to conclude the west has done this on purpose

  3. Rafe Champion says:

    Point taken Chris M, also the Russians are going big on coal!

  4. Primer says:

    https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2019/11/12/the-collapse-of-american-rare-earth-mining-and-lessons-learned/

    Plenty of rare earths in the US. The free traders should be ecstatic, the industry shutdown because they are cheaper with no EPA interference in China.

  5. min says:

    I bought Lynas shares years ago however they ran into trouble over processing as they thought they had a deal to process it in Malaya who decided it was too toxic to process.
    Are there any shortages at the moment of lithium batteries as I heard something on radio late last night ?

  6. exsteelworker says:

    Lithium Extraction and Brines

    The majority of the world’s lithium is produced by one of two means: Mining & acid leaching from spodumene ores (LiAl(SiO3)2), producing lithium sulfate solution, which is then converted to battery-grade lithium carbonate or hydroxide via electrochemical processes.
    Poisoning the Earth to save.

  7. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    I think this is hilarious since REE have only become prominent due to global warming related technologies.

    So if we ditched the climate silliness we wouldn’t need the rare earth metals and then we wouldn’t give a flying fruitbat that the Chinese have a lock on the industry.

  8. Rafe Champion says:

    Yes Bruce, in the comments I suggested that we can get over the supply chain problem simply by not building windmills and electric vehicles. Simple but not easy.

    As a bonus there is a downstream problem of waste disposal, but as someone once said, never mind about that, we will burn our bridges when we come to them.

  9. Rafe Champion says:

    min, in the first few minutes of the video there is an account of the Lynas problem and the way it was based on the Thorium residue scare.

  10. m0nty says:

    No technologically important and widespread industry ever began in a regulated environment.

    That’s a pretty dumb statement to make, Rafe, given the long history of massive commercial industries that started as military research.

  11. Rex Anger says:

    No technologically important and widespread industry ever began in a regulated environment.

    That’s a pretty dumb statement to make, Rafe, given the long history of massive commercial industries that started as military research

    Military research is regulated, is it m0nty?

    Driven into the dirt by predatory bugmen looking to make themselves feel good at the expense of everybody?

    Remarkable inisght…

  12. Rex Anger says:

    Military research is regulated, is it m0nty?

    How would the internet as you pollute it ever have existed in the regulated environments you crave?

    After all, it was the military project ARPANET first…

    And the integrated circuits that power it, as first devdloped by Texas Instruments for the Monuteman II ICBM? Pretty sure a bugman would have cancelled that too for being too ‘warlike…’

  13. Forester says:

    We should be cashing in on the European socialists nonsense. Set up a totally green exotic minerals processing system and charge them an arm, leg and left testicle.

    We need to do the same with Nuclear, we should be the ONLY place socialists can buy their stuff and show their faces in public.

    First step will be letting the trade union party fund its own propaganda outfit and running our own outfit going hard, day in, day out, on EU and US toxic rare earth processing.

  14. max says:

    Australian problem is Australian communist or to be more specific Australian Fabian socialist.

    U.S. Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy’s speech to the Ohio County Republican Women’s Club in Wheeling on February 9, 1950,:
    The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because our only powerful potential enemy has sent men to invade our shores, but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have been treated so well by this Nation. It has not been the less fortunate or members of minority groups who have been selling this Nation out, but rather those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest nation on earth has had to offer—the finest homes, the finest college education, and the finest jobs in Government we can give.

    This is glaringly true in the State Department. There the bright young men who are born with silver spoons in their mouths are the ones who have been the worst….In my opinion the State Department, which is one of the most important government departments, is thoroughly infested with Communists.

    I have in my hand 57 cases of individuals who would appear to be either card carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party, but who nevertheless are still helping to shape our foreign policy….

  15. lotocoti says:

    We can thank an unregulated environment for that technological miracle,
    the Machine For Raising Water With Fire.
    The engine of the entire Industrial Revolution.

  16. duncanm says:

    Forester says:
    June 1, 2021 at 11:12 am

    exactly.

    Hit the Euro consumers hard with Uygher’s, human rights violations, environmental vandalism, etc etc. We can be the clean, green, humanitarian source of all their essentials. At a price.

  17. Mango Man says:

    First, the West has not dumped nuclear. It is a key source of energy in Europe and the US. Second, China’s position on rare earths is temporary. It has prompted substantial developments in Australia that are being supported by US preferences. I would also note that the reliance on scarce elements of the periodic table for large scale uses is not sustainable and it is therefore predictable that alternatives to cobalt-lithium and other scarce elements are in development (driven by plain commercial imperatives).
    This chicken little stuff is a bit rich.

  18. m0nty says:

    Military research is regulated, is it m0nty?

    Yes it is. Haven’t you heard of a well-regulated militia?

    As for the Internet, yes it did start as a regulated government project, so it completely invalidates Rafe’s point. Thanks for playing!

  19. Terry says:

    ‘Thanks for playing!’

    Like a ball of wool talking to a cat…too funny.

  20. Kneel says:

    “…we will burn our bridges when we come to them.”

    Why wait until we get to them to burn them, when we can dynamite them now?

  21. Kneel says:

    “…as first devdloped [sic] by Texas Instruments for the Monuteman [sic] II ICBM”

    Not to mention Intel’s microprocessor, which they developed in order to make a single chip pocket calculator (notice, non-regulated environment and totally a commercial decision).
    OK, so it didn’t work and they still needed two chips, but that little 4004 microprocessor was the forebear of every single microprocessor since, whether Intel’s 80 series (8008, 8080, 8085, 8086, 80186 etc etc all the way to current multi-processor chips with megabytes of cache), Zilogs Intel clones (Z80 etc) Motorolla’s 65 series (6502 et al) and 68K series, Sun’s SPARC, Acorn’s ARM (which you can license as PLD code for custom chips) – the whole lot, whether RISC or CISC, and of whatever architecture.
    Amazing what you can do with a simple state machine, isn’t it?

  22. Boambee John says:

    m0nty says:
    June 1, 2021 at 12:32 pm
    Military research is regulated, is it m0nty?

    Yes it is. Haven’t you heard of a well-regulated militia?

    ROFLMAO. Beyond pathetic, into fantasy!

  23. Bruce says:

    @Munty:

    “Yes it is. Haven’t you heard of a well-regulated militia? ”

    In that, and all other contemporary contexts, “well regulated” did NOT mean overloaded with bureaucratic dictates and constraints, but, instead, “thoroughly trained and disciplined”. This is made VERY clear by the Founders and Framers writings on the subject.

    I am well aware of the criminally malicious campaign to corrupt the language to destroy that nation and others, but, there you have it. The amendment to the US Bill of Rights to which you direct your sneers is the ULTIMATE guarantee of the survival of the VERY FIRST amendment to that Bill of Rights.

    Oh, and by the way, China not only has the bulk of the ready supply of rare earths these days, it has been quietly buying up mineral exploration operations, leases, working mines and processing operations etc. all around the world for DECADES. This includes quite a few in the US and Canada. Strategic resources are in play, big time.

  24. m0nty says:

    In that, and all other contemporary contexts, “well regulated” did NOT mean overloaded with bureaucratic dictates and constraints, but, instead, “thoroughly trained and disciplined”.

    This hair you’re splitting, it’s rather hard to make out.

    The overall point of the thread by Rafe is that regulation is bad, nothing good ever comes from regulation, and also that we should do something about the Chinese buying up all our important stuff, in the form of enforcing a regulation against foreign investment.

    I’d like to hear how Rafe thinks that the Chinese can be kicked out of rare earth mining foreign investments if not by regulation. Is he a djinn with magical wish fulfilment powers?

  25. Squirrel says:

    Straya’s role as a source of critical rare-earths is presumably one of the reasons why we are now hearing rumours of a luminously high profile ambassadorial appointment from the US.

  26. Nob says:

    Monty,

    The distinguishing feature of military technology development, especially in time of war in committed countries, is the incredible “hands off , go for it” you get from governments.

    Contrasts sharply with the “obstruction at any cost” approach you get normally.

  27. Nob says:

    Rate is correct.
    Nothing good comes from regulation.
    Regulation follows the industry which produces the goods.
    Maybe for good, maybe for bad, but it’s always the parasite, not the host.

    Do you think the electricity regulation boards created electricity?

  28. Nob says:

    Rafe not “rate”

  29. Rafe:
    I watched the entire thing. It seems to me that the entire process breaks down at the EPA point.
    Excessive and self defeating regulation from a government dinosaur, and the lack of lateral thinking.
    I’d like to see Thorium re instated in the US Strategic Minerals stockpile. There was a very large amount in ’77 but it seems to have disappeared in the ’90’s. If you have knowledge of a more recent listing of minerals, I’d be happy to see it.

  30. Exsteelworker:

    The majority of the world’s lithium is produced by one of two means: Mining & acid leaching from spodumene ores (LiAl(SiO3)2), producing lithium sulfate solution, which is then converted to battery-grade lithium carbonate or hydroxide via electrochemical processes.

    I had a lot of shares in a play to mine the Chilean? high altitude brine lakes back in the 2000’s. All ready to go and management swapped the prospects for a small iron ore mine – at the peak of the prices.
    The shares would be worth a large fortune now if they had kept at the lithium deposits.
    Pricks.

  31. Rafe:

    As a bonus there is a downstream problem of waste disposal, but as someone once said, never mind about that, we will burn our bridges when we come to them.

    So there’s no way we can recycle the hundreds of tons of rare earth magnets dotting the countryside?
    (I think I asked this question a couple of years ago, but maybe the technology has moved ahead.)

  32. Whalehunt Fun says:

    Nuke them now and salt what survives with radioactive waste. Leave the place uninhabitable for a million or two years. It will be no loss. Ignorant thieves are quite plentiful elsewhere.

  33. RobK says:

    It seems to me that the entire process breaks down at the EPA point.
    It all went pear-shaped when they declared CO2 a pollutant.
    Insane.

  34. rickw says:

    This current piece paints an expansive picture of the world of rare earth production and the Chinese domination.

    Pretty long supply chains they’ve got there.

  35. rickw says:

    The distinguishing feature of military technology development, especially in time of war in committed countries, is the incredible “hands off , go for it” you get from governments.

    Indeed. Owen was in breach of a number of firearm laws when he was developing the Owen Gun, as were those that were helping him with machining and welding. Government and Police were aware of this and decided to turn a blind eye to their “law breaking”.

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