Looming resource war: China begins stockpiling rare earths in strategic reserve

July 5, 2012 BEIJINGChina has started stockpiling rare earths for strategic reserves, a state-backed newspaper said Thursday, in a move that may raise more worries over Beijing’s control of the coveted resources. China has already started the purchase — using state funds — and storage of rare earths for strategic reserves, the China Securities Journal said, but did not specify exactly when the initiative was launched. “This is China’s start of work for state strategic buying and storage of rare earths,” the newspaper said. The country produces more than 90 percent of the world’s rare earths, which are used in high-tech equipment ranging from iPods to missiles, and it has set production caps and export quotas on them. Major trading partners last month asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to form a panel to resolve a dispute over China’s export limits on rare earths after earlier consultations through the global trade body failed. The European Union, the United States and Japan accuse China of unfairly choking off exports of the commodities to benefit domestic industries. China has previously defended its rare earths policies, saying they aim to protect resources and the environment as part of an effort to promote sustainable development. A Chinese official said last month the regulation of the rare earths industry was in line with global trade rules. China had already announced its intention to build a strategic reserve system, but had not publicly said that it had started stockpiling. –Physics
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20 Responses to Looming resource war: China begins stockpiling rare earths in strategic reserve

  1. Texas Listening Post, Tony says:

    The rare earth elements are within the borders of China an sovereign country and a member of the UN. It would seem correct to conclude that China can sell or keep the rare earth elements. I suspect that if the US or Japan had an abundance of these elements they would do the same thing claiming national security reasons to horde. Americans need to take to heart what Fareed Zakaria drives home in his book “The Post American World” the US is now one of many countries in the world not the ruler of the world.

    I shall be in Cambridge UK for a month looking forward to some cooler weather and the beautiful English gardens.



  2. t says:

    Hmmm, I think I will put my money on China being the next World superpower.


    • Artoro says:

      @t: Hmmm, I would make another wager. China lacks (and will probably never obtain) a few of the elements required of a superpower.


  3. DLR says:

    After all, she owns over half of the U.S. who owes her billions……She has come up a long way as world power…


  4. FoxTrapper says:

    Kinda looks that way, doesn’t it…wonder where the NWO fits into this stratigy?


  5. hilly7 says:

    China begins? China has been stocking for a number of years. When I first read about them buying I was reminded of my dad telling stories of how Japan bought up before the war. For now China buys, soon they won’t have to buy.


  6. pagan66 says:

    One day, in the not too distant future, I can see my country answering to all things to the powers in Beijing. We are an extremely resource rich nation but we are isolated geographically from our strong allies & we have a very low population. If every single person living in Australia linked hands, we could not cover our coastline. It is just a matter of time before our Northern neighbours start casting covetous eyes upon us.



    • charlenenz says:

      If you are worried being an Australian – just imagine how it feels to be a New Zealander. New Zealand has many natural resources that are largely untouched and we are tiny – which such a small population it will be easier to push us over…


  7. Lilly says:

    Many of our Australian farms, domestic properties and natural resources (businesses) are being bought up by China too.
    Food for thought…….


    • pagan66 says:

      You’re right. $38bn in two years, & that’s just for mines & leases. All done “in confidence” too, so we the public receive no specific information regarding which mines & in which states. Below is an interesting & prudent Dec. 2011 article by Geoffrey Barker, I’d include the link instead of posting the whole thing but because I subscribe to the AFW, I can’t.

      Much of Australia’s great minerals bonanza lies along an arc that rises from Gladstone in southern Queensland, sweeps over the continent and descends to the Dampier region in Western Australia.
      Close to 100 expanding minerals, energy and infrastructure projects, worth hundreds of billions of dollars, lie along this arc spanning the most exposed, underpopulated, vulnerable regions of northern Australia.
      These huge economic assets could be of serious interest to expansionist foreign powers hungry for energy and minerals resources to feed their future growth. Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicate capital expenditure in the mining sector alone in 2011-12 may be about $73.7 billion.
      So how to defend these vital national assets? How to protect remote mines, infrastructure and communities? How to deter those who might be tempted to take rather than trade?
      True, Australia has army, navy and air force bases across Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Now the government plans to bring US forces into the Top End to boost national military strength.
      A proposed army reorganisation designed to boost brigade-based amphibious capabilities also promises a stronger focus on minerals projects. But this is still in the future.
      Immediate judgments about how to improve the nation’s capacity to defend minerals and energy resources now rest with the Defence Force posture review announced in June by Defence Minister Stephen Smith.
      The review is being overseen by two veteran Defence Department secretaries, Allan Hawke and Ric Smith. Stephen Smith’s announcement noted the need to consider “energy security and security issues associated with expanding offshore resource exploitation” and the need to assess the impact of the force posture on “more intense minerals and petroleum resource activities”.
      But there has been little public discussion about how the disposition of Australian forces might be reshaped to ensure the protection of resources into the 21st century.
      Yet the questions are pressing: what proportion of the ADF should be deployed in the defence of northern and north-western Australia? Where should it be located? What proportion of Australia’s naval, air and army assets should be devoted to protecting the minerals boom?
      Hawke and Smith will have to be tough-minded. First, because there has long been resistance within the ADF to expanded northern basing because of climate and family life difficulties.
      Second, because there is political reluctance to acknowledge that valued trading partners might, in future, become potentially hostile competitors.
      Hawke and Smith will need to insist that men and women join the ADF presumably because they want to defend the nation and its interests where they need to be defended and not where it is convenient for them to do so.
      Australia faces no threat from New Zealand.
      The north and north-west, as always, will be the locus of any potential threat.
      Hawke and Smith should also reject the widely held notion that any foreign threat to minerals projects is illusory so long as Australia is prepared to trade fairly and openly with rising powers like China, India and Indonesia, which will increasingly require access to minerals and energy.
      They cannot afford to see only the sunny side.
      It is the role of the two former secretaries to take a long view of potential pathologies in the international system that might emerge to threaten the security of the minerals boom which should ensure Australia’s prosperity for generations to come.
      There is no justification for the notion that more trade will lead to more peace. That mercantilist myth was exploded by World War I, when it was popularly assumed that warfare had been rendered obsolete by the economic costs of conflict. It has been exploded many times since.
      The fact is that regimes change; amiable economic relations can sour over time with changing national needs and ambitions of rising powers.
      It would hardly be surprising if some foreign powers did not eventually come to desire Australia’s vast mineral riches – especially when demand is high and rising and when those riches are lying vulnerable and tempting.
      Happily Hawke and Smith are hard-headed realists about the fluid nature of nature of international relations and the application of force to support national interests.
      They now carry a heavy responsibility for ensuring national strategic and economic sovereignty.

      Geoffrey Barker
      The Australian Financial Review


  8. Artoro says:

    I think China will eventually cave under it’s own weight.


  9. Pack'n in says:

    Say Thank You Corporate America for sending everything you can think of to China to manufacture, thereby leaving middle class Americans with no work. The Government condoned it and the greedy Banking Centers drafted the plan so they, and the corporations could make more money. That leaves the Government paying unemployment, bailouts and retirement from a dwindling tax base. Then the corporations base their companies off shore and avoid paying taxes.
    China will be the next super power. The broadcast industry gave them the technology to launch satellites – now they use that technology to build missiles and arms to sell to Syria, North Korea and terrorist so they can kill our sons and daughters. China openly states that they will back Syria and Iran, they are stockpiling natural resources and making agreement with countries all over the world, but Corporate America continues to finance their growth by having them manufacture all goods until they cut us off one day in a boycott.


  10. Dennis E. says:

    I agree with the comments of Pagan66 and The Texas listening post.
    I believe, before our very eyes we are seeing the transfer of power to the East and the decline of
    The United States. It has to happen. China is being very smart here. It is using agreements and the debt it is owed as leverage to establish strongholds without firing a shot, yet.
    As a matter of fact, China believes it has enough clout to admonish Americans for having too many weapons………….
    Stay tuned………….


  11. Artoro says:

    I remember way back when the U.S. was inundated with the Made in Japan brand, and the same things were said. Hmmm, How did that pan out? Me, I have faith in America, She always seems to pull through.

    She hasn’t been renowned a superpower all these years for nothing. China and the rest of these nations will never be able to step up to the plate to feed the world, nor will thousands flock to Her, China’s shores seeking a better life.

    Here’s a challenge, if you live in the U.S. move to any other country for a year (or try multiples) and while you’re out exploring, you will then realize why people flock to the U.S. I have been fortunate enough to have done that, and now I understand why it’s called a superpower. United States has got it going on.

    Alvin, do you remember back many years ago when it was said that Japan was buying up all of the U.S. of A.?


    • I remember, Artoro. Many experts have said America, while holding China over a barrel, should go ahead and default now since China is holding so much US debt.


    • pagan66 says:

      Not to get into a “my country is better than yours” debate but that’s a fairly inflammatory statement you’re making Artoro. Want to know what a Green hippy descended from a White Russian mother who escaped the horrors of war torn Leningrad thinks? I personally have travelled to every continent on this planet & seen many different cultures at play & met many differing people but I will say emphatically that there is no place like home & no place like Australia. Are we a military superpower? No!!! Don’t want to be either. Imagine the responsibility, imagine trying to upkeep it. Imagine being called on to enter another warzone in some God forsaken hellhole. Imagine the cost – both in money & lives – then imagine what that money could have been spent on instead if your government didnt find it so necessary to involve itself again & again. Finding a cure for cancer? Finding a solution for World Peace without dropping a bomb? I can see how well the Superpower tag fits – a crumbling health care system, a government corrupted at the highest level, massive unemployment & crime & an almost bankrupted economy & that’s just the tip of it.

      Yes, the US has been, for many a displaced person a beacon of hope & light throughout the long dark days of wars & oppression & many countries, my own included are grateful for the hand yours extended during times of strife but we live in a post 9/11 world now & China is not Japan & there was not the horror of escalating Earth Changes in those days as there is now. One mega EQ, one massive Earth directed CME, one huge volcanic eruption, one or two lost growing seasons changes everything & levels the playing field. You cannot use the toys if said toys are broken. China won’t want people flocking to her shores, they have too many of their own to start with, & they believe me, they certainly don’t care about feeding the world, they will just use the conquered as workers. They expect to win, they believe it their destiny & to me, that’s scary as hell.



  12. AWM says:

    The production of these rare earths causes great environmental damage, which is why it was outsouced to China in the first place.


  13. China is not the superpower we make them out to be. When the Chinese started stockpiling rare earth elements, the Mountain Pass mine in California was re-opened because it was known that those rare elements are there. We also have our own stock piles, or at least we did, those elements are used in many high tech gadgets and in weapons of war, there are many uses for them. There was a time when those elements had no use, but now they are in demand, the country suffering the most is Japan and they are literally begging China to sell.
    The wonderful thing is there is bound to be just as much here on American soil as there is in China. It just has to be found and refined. Neither Russia nor China have enough ships to invade the ole USA, also it would be a mistake to forget our Nuclear Submarines and their payload of Nuclear missiles. No nation can attack us and not suffer utter destruction with those awesome weapons. That is what puts us ahead in any war scenario that gets too out of hand. As for the Chinese owning half the United States, that is just hype, the US Government and individual states are the real owners of the land, in fact the Government has been buying up land for many years now . Our nature p
    reserves and our huge national parks system are just some examples of how much land is owned by the USA. If there were an invasion it would be stopped at a certain point. There is no way to overrun a country with the percentage of households that have guns or the hundreds of thousands of police and the National Guard. The future of warfare, unmanned drones, tiny flying drone weapons, robotic weapons vehicles, and the Bulk of the U.S. Army on home soil. A nation with 300,000,000 people will not topple at a stroke.


  14. hilly7 says:

    I have to go along with pagan66 on this one. Plus as far as China goes with warships, their fleet of trade ships could carry many people. There are plenty of weapons owned privately here but most of the ammo comes from China or Russia. Without ammo pistols become rocks and rifles become sticks. Add to that many people with weapons probably wouldn’t use them. Electronic wise, one initial, EMP and we’re down. Our troops are scatted everywhere. The next thing is biological, which they’d have no problem releasing with all the products coming over which could keep us busy and isolated. That isn’t counting a natural disaster. We are at the top of the heap, but it’s a long way down. Then again, if we default on debts or slack off on buying, it could topple them. We wouldn’t fight just China, they have allies as well, and we have more enemies than friends.One would probably be looking at BRIC, Brazil, Russia, India, & China. I’m juts betting the Chinese government wouldn’t hesitate to kill some of their own for gain.


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