The Chinese authorities have not gone out of their way to respond to Australia’s latest statements on ” the level of concentration of rare earth production ». Speaking on the subject, the Australian Minister for Resources attacked China by making it clear that it “produces 168 kilotons of rare earth oxide equivalent, while the second largest producer, the United States, produced only 43 kilotons”. Also, the Australian official calls for the diversification of rare earth supply chains.
For Madeleine King, “This level of supply chain concentration, regardless of where the concentration points are, leads to significant vulnerabilities that have been all too evident in recent years”. In particular, she linked all of this to the scale of China’s manufacturing and demand, which would have contributed to lowering the cost of certain things such as solar photovoltaics, batteries and electric motors.
China owns 90% of rare earths
China was quick to react to these remarks. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian“ countries with critical mineral resources should play a positive role in ensuring the safety, security and stability of relevant industrial and supply chains ». “No one should use economics as a political tool or weapon, to destabilize global industrial and supply chains or strike at the existing global economic system”continued this official of Chinese diplomacy while recalling that his country holds nearly 90% rare earths which are very useful in the manufacture of electronic products and batteries.