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ree industry - what can west learn from china

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    China’s Rare Earth Elements Industry:
    What Can the West Learn?
    By Cindy Hurst
    March 2010
    Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS)

    The Institute for the Analysis of Global Security is a Washington based non-profit think tank dedicated to research and public debate on issues related to energy security. IAGS seeks to promote public awareness to the strong impact energy has on the world economy and security and to the myriad of technological and policy solutions that could help nations strengthen their energy security.

    Cindy Hurst is an analyst for the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office,
    Fort Leavenworth, KS.

    Check the following link for the full report:

    This is a thorough analysis of environmental issues, especially in mining of REEs in China. There is some reference to issues in processing where proper OH&S protocols are not observed; e.g. workers not wearing masks and inhaling materials.

    The general issue of environmental degredstion is behind China's decision to ban Baotou Steel from its current list of exporters for 2012.

    "Baotou Steel, which accounts for nearly half of the world's rare earths production, has been excluded from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce's list of 11 approved exporters for next year. The list was released last week."

    I have highlighted a general assessment by Dudley Kingsnorth.

    "Only time will tell if cleaning up the environment in China is achievable. China has a history of pressing forward in its economic ventures with no regard
    for the environment.

    China could easily create more stringent environmental regulations as a front to cover up its poor image. If China were to place environmental issues and regulations high on the priority list, it would mean higher costs to run the industry and less production. This could force the
    international community to push hard for alternatives, potentially hurting China’s superior status in the rare earth industry.

    China is able to operate its rare earth mines at one third the cost in part because of the country’s lax environmental
    standards. Additionally, efforts to clean up China’s environment will require government funding and increased oversight, and would likely cost billions of dollars.

    According to renowned Australian rare earths expert Dudley Kingsnorth, “I think it will be at least 10 years before China will match our standards.”
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