China Cuts Off World's Rare Earth Metal Supply

Discussion in 'Non Sci-fi Debates' started by Alamo, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. Alamo

    Alamo Moderator
    Well, that can't be good.
  2. DonBosco

    DonBosco 11th century refugee

    WTO needs to rape China already.
  3. FBH

    FBH Write drunk. Edit Hungover

    pretty standard behavior from a resource producing nation. IIRC The US and several others did something similar to cut Russia out from being able to flood the world market with aluminum in the 1990s.
  4. Sabertooth

    Sabertooth Troll Lord of the Tal´Darim

    I think I saw this thread on SB a year ago.
  5. smarino

    smarino like a boss

    And yet there are assholes who believe we should practice free-trade with these fucktwats. :mad:
  6. Minohtar

    Minohtar Advocatus Diaboli

    Yes this was discussed once already.

    And hey, they only control 30% of the world's reserves. Well gee, I guess maybe other nations should get back into business then? Oh look they are... as of a YEAR AGO.
  7. Good news for the northern part of my province. IIRC, there are some rare earth deposits in Northern New Brunswick that might become profitable if China keeps pulling stunts like these. And goodness knows, the Acadia region needs all the help it can get nowadays.
  8. Deathstroke

    Deathstroke Wrecking things in a gracefully way

    I wouldn't worry about that because the US is reopening its rare-earth metal super mine in California and it is expected to be fully online sometime this year. Besides, we recently discovered the world's largest untapped deposit of rare-earth mineral in the southeastern Nebraska, and there are some serious talks about establishing mine operations there.
  9. Piece of Mind

    Piece of Mind 17th C Knutter

    So the question becomes, will the year or so that China have bought themselves be worth it for them?
  10. Sir_Tanly

    Sir_Tanly Gratifyingly Crazy

    Yes, I think that's the take-away from this story. By cutting off the supply of rare earths available for export, the Chinese are effectively creating jobs elsewhere.
  11. Minohtar

    Minohtar Advocatus Diaboli

    And a news story on that as well:

  12. Simple solution is to just pick something China needs and threaten to stop trading for a month. Then China will back down and we all win.
  13. JC - Interrupted

    JC - Interrupted We Are Caltech of Borg

    China controls one of four known rare-earth "supermine" sites. The California one was partially shut down because the Chinese were outcompeting them through lower costs (due to a total lack of safety and environmental regs), whereas the Australia site is relatively newly discovered and mining facilities are not yet operational, and the Nebraska site is a brand new discovery.

    Needless to say, the United States has nothing to fear from the Chinese restricting rare-earth exports.
  14. LT_Ryguy

    LT_Ryguy KNEEL BEFORE MOD SuperModerator

    Manmade disaster averted!


    Invisible hand something something Central Planning something something Trade Policy something something Market Forces...
  15. Yeah it's a completely useless attempt to corner the market.
  16. JC - Interrupted

    JC - Interrupted We Are Caltech of Borg

    China seems to be forgetting that the only reason they have such a huge market share is that the lack of safety and environmental regs at their supermine allows them to flood the market at prices even another supermine can't match. If they start jacking up the prices, the other supermine sites come back into play -- especially the Australian site, which uses newer, more efficient ore processing technology. This is part of why the Australian site has taken so long and cost so much to develop, but it should give them a pretty big advantage once they become operational.
  17. MJ12 Commando

    MJ12 Commando Solidarity

    Ahahahaha no. The Chinese have, until recently, been allowing their currency to appreciate against the US dollar. Then Congress, thinking exactly like you, decided to make a bill threatening China with tariffs unless they stopped undervaluing their currency. You know what that caused? Well, China slashed its currency value a giant pile. Do you guys understand the idea of 'face'? Do not force a Chinaman to lose face, because then they will happily cut their nose off just to spite you.

    And if you guys haven't understood what's happening yet, China just wants fair market price here. But of course, everyone is whining about the free market and how free trade actually works.

    That advantage being "they can sell things at higher prices" apparently, which isn't much of an advantage FYI.
  18. China's thinking is surprisingly short term about this. But so many of their actions are based on a desperate attempt to maintain growth to stave off revolution.
  19. MJ12 Commando

    MJ12 Commando Solidarity

    Hahaha 'surprisingly short term' eh? What, do you think that suddenly because everyone else is more profitable they'll become unprofitable? Worst comes to worst, they can kick their prices back down if they want to. Right now all they want is higher prices per unit. The price the market will bear, as it were.

    This is how companies behave.
  20. Shrike

    Shrike Smug Deity

    No, they want to choke off foreign businesses. Like they specifically said.

    Stop trying to sugarcoat it. :p
  21. China isn't a comapany.
  22. MJ12 Commando

    MJ12 Commando Solidarity

    That's the Chinese ministry of natural resources, their equivalent to the US Department of the Interior, not the company itself.

    "And China's biggest rare earth metal producer -- the Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (Group)..."

    At worst it's a state-owned company. Nevertheless it has no obligations to anyone besides its stockholders. Prices go up, China benefits, who the hell loses? They can always flood the market if they have to to keep prices down and competition out, except the opening of foreign rare earth mines is happening come hell or high water anyways, and I bet that even if they're totally unprofitable they'll get subsidized to hell.

    Which makes this the funniest part, because people are acting like this is a violation of free trade. Companies are allowed to sell to who they want. You aren't allowed to tariff or subsidize businesses to give them an advantage against foreign ones, in a free trade environment. (Of course, nobody actually follows free trade laws to the letter.)
  23. Shrike

    Shrike Smug Deity

    Considering the Chinese government folded other companies into the company in question, I'm not exactly assuming seperation of church and state here.
  24. MJ12 Commando

    MJ12 Commando Solidarity

    State-owned companies in China are largely independent of the government, the only real difference from US corporate entities is the government is their primary stockholder. They finally answer to the PRC, that does not inherently mean all their decisions are solely motivated by the PRC, nor does that mean that another organization's statements apply in their entirety.
  25. So...kinda like the Diamond industry does stuff?