Not the rock group from the 70s (Get Ready and Celebrate)….I am referring to those minerals that are a major component in some electronics….and guess who has control of much of these elements? Wait for it……..China!
Rare Earth Minerals? What the Hell is that all about?
Many applications of REE are characterized by high specificity and high unit value. For example, color cathode-ray tubes and liquid-crystal displays used in computer monitors and televisions employ europium as the red phosphor; no substitute is known. Owing to relatively low abundance and high demand, Eu is quite valuable—$250 to $1,700/kg (for Eu2O3) over the past decade.
Fiber-optic telecommunication cables provide much greater bandwidth than the copper wires and cables they have largely replaced. Fiber-optic cables can transmit signals over long distances because they incorporate periodically spaced lengths of erbium-doped fiber that function as laser amplifiers. Er is used in these laser repeaters, despite its high cost (~$700/kg), because it alone possesses the required optical properties.
Specificity is not limited to the more exotic REE, such as Eu or Er. Cerium, the most abundant and least expensive REE, has dozens of applications, some highly specific. For example, Ce oxide is uniquely suited as a polishing agent for glass. The polishing action of CeO2 depends on both its physical and chemical properties, including the two accessible oxidation states of cerium, Ce,3+ and Ce4+, in aqueous solution. Virtually all polished glass products, from ordinary mirrors and eyeglasses to precision lenses, are finished with CeO2.
Plus the Rare Earth Minerals are used in our military……
A lack of these minerals could force a national security risk……and that would increase the use of the military (cause and effect)…….
I would say the possibility of a war with China is more so than with Iran.
And now they, China, have issued a threat over the Trump tariffs……
Facing new trade sanctions and a US clampdown on its top telecommunications company, China issued a pointed reminder Wednesday that it has yet to unleash all its weapons in its trade war with the Trump administration. Chinese state media warned that Beijing could cut America off from exotic minerals that are widely used in electric cars and mobile phones. The threat to use China’s rich supply of so-called rare earths as leverage in the conflict has contributed to sharp losses in US stocks and sliding long-term bond yields, the AP reports. The nationalistic Chinese newspaper Global Times warned that China has plenty of ways to retaliate against the United States, including the threat of cutting off supplies of rare earth minerals. China last year produced 78% of the world’s rare earths, according to researchers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
If the US fails to exercise restraint, it will see that “China is far from running out of cards, and we have the will and determination to fight the US to the end,” the paper’s editorial said. China has used rare earths as a cudgel before. Five years ago, the World Trade Organization slapped down China’s attempt to restrict the export of rare earths during a dispute with Japan, rejecting its claim that it just wanted to conserve supplies. Scott Kennedy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, however, says the threat has lost much of its power. First, users of rare earths have stockpiled the minerals for a “rainy day,” he says. Second, they also have figured out how to “use less rare earth to achieve the same results” in products like lasers and magnets. And third, different minerals and chemicals are increasingly being used as rare earth substitutes.
Not to worry……we have troops in a country that is sitting on about $1 trillion (that is trillion with a “T”) worth of rare earth minerals……
Afghanistan, a country nearly the size of Texas, is loaded with minerals deposited by the violent collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began inspecting what mineral resources Afghanistan had after U.S.-led forces drove the Taliban from power in the country in 2004. As it turns out, the Afghanistan Geological Survey staff had kept Soviet geological maps and reports up to 50 years old or more that hinted at a geological gold mine.
That is right…out longest war EVER is in a country that is loaded with rare earth minerals……could that explain why we are hanging on in the spot?
It is not like we have never fought a war for a resource……think OIL……