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China to Ban Exporting Rare Earth Metals


Guest Ron
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A draft report by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has called for a total ban on foreign shipments of terbium, dysprosium, yttrium, thulium, and lutetium. Other metals such as neodymium, europium, cerium, and lanthanum will be restricted to a combined export quota of 35,000 tonnes a year, far below global needs.

 

China mines over 95pc of the world's rare earth minerals, mostly in Inner Mongolia. The move to hoard reserves is the clearest sign to date that the global struggle for diminishing resources is shifting into a new phase. Countries may find it hard to obtain key materials at any price.

 

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Guest Deandre

Terbium (pronounced /ˈtɜrbiəm/, TER-bee-əm) is a chemical element with the symbol Tb and atomic number 65. It is a silvery-white rare earth metal that is malleable, ductile and soft enough to be cut with a knife. Terbium is never found in nature as a free element, but it is contained in many minerals, including cerite, gadolinite, monazite, xenotime and euxenite.

 

Terbium is never found in nature as a free element, but it is contained in many minerals, including cerite, gadolinite, monazite ((Ce,La,Th,Nd,Y)PO4, which contains up to 0.03% of terbium), xenotime (YPO4) and euxenite ((Y,Ca,Er,La,Ce,U,Th)(Nb,Ta,Ti)2O6, which contains 1% or more of terbium). The crust abundance of terbium is estimated as 1.2 mg/kg.[6]

 

The richest current commercial sources of terbium are the ion-adsorption clays of southern China. The high-yttrium concentrate versions of these are about two-thirds yttrium oxide by weight, and about 1% terbia. However, small amounts occur in bastnäsite and monazite, and when these are processed by solvent-extraction to recover the valuable heavy lanthanides in the form of "samarium-europium-gadolinium concentrate" (SEG concentrate), the terbium content of the ore ends up therein. Due to the large volumes of bastnäsite processed, relative to the richer ion-adsorption clays, a significant proportion of the world's terbium supply comes from bastnäsite.

 

USES: Used in alloys, fuel cell stablizer and in lasers. Also used in the production of electronic devices.

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The mineral bastnäsite is one of a family of three carbonate-fluoride minerals, which includes bastnäsite-(Ce) with a formula of (Ce, La)CO3F, bastnäsite-(La) with a formula of (La, Ce)CO3F, and bastnäsite-(Y) with a formula of (Y, Ce)CO3F. Most bastnäsite is bastnäsite-(Ce), and cerium is by far the most common of the rare earths in this class of minerals. Bastnäsite and the phosphate mineral monazite are the two largest sources of cerium and other rare earth elements.

 

Bastnäsite was first described in 1841 from and named for the Bastnäs mine near Riddarhyttan, Västermanland, Sweden.[2] Bastnäsite also occurs as very high quality specimens at the Zagi Mountains, Pakistan. Bastnäsite occurs in alkali granite and syenite and in associated pegmatites.

 

Although a scarce mineral and never in great concentrations, it is widespread, and one of the more common rare-earth carbonates. Bastnäsite has been found in karst bauxite deposits in Hungary, Greece and the Balkans region. Also found in carbonatites, a rare carbonate igneous intrusive rock, at Fen, Norway; Bayan Obo, Mongolia; Kangankunde, Malawi; Kizilcaoren, Turkey and Mountain Pass, California, USA. At Mountain Pass, bastnäsite is the leading ore mineral. Some bastnäsite has been found in the unusual granites of the Langesundsfjord area, Norway; Kola Peninsula, Russia; Mont Saint-Hilaire mines, Ontario, and Thor Lake deposits, Northwest Territories, Canada. Hydrothermal sources have also been reported.

 

Mountain Pass bastnäsite was the world's major source of lanthanides from the 1960s to the 1980s. Thereafter, China became increasingly important to world rare earth supply. Chinese deposits of bastnäsite include several in Sichuan Province, and the massive deposit at Bayan Obo, Inner Mongolia, which had been discovered early in the 20th century, but not exploited until much later. Bayan Obo is currently (2008) providing the lion's share of the world's lanthanides. Bayan Obo bastnäsite occurs in association with monazite (plus enough magnetite to sustain one of the largest steel mills in China), and unlike carbonatite bastnäsites, is relatively closer to monazite lanthanide compositions, with the exception of its generous 0.2% content of europium.

 

At Mountain Pass, bastnäsite ore was finely ground, and subjected to flotation to separate the bulk of the bastnäsite from the accompanying barite, calcite and dolomite. Marketable products include each of the major intermediates of the ore dressing process: flotation concentrate, acid-washed flotation concentrate, calcined acid washed bastnäsite, and finally a cerium concentrate, which was the insoluble residue left after the calcined bastnäsite had been leached with hydrochloric acid. The lanthanides that dissolved as a result of the acid treatment were subjected to solvent extraction, to capture the europium, and purify the other individual components of the ore. A further product included a lanthanide mix, depleted of much of the cerium, and essentially all of samarium and heavier lanthanides. The calcination of bastnäsite had driven off the carbon dioxide content, leaving an oxide-fluoride, in which the cerium content had become oxidized to the less basic quadrivalent state. However, the high temperature of the calcination gave less-reactive oxide, and the use of hydrochloric acid, which can cause reduction of quadrivalent cerium, led to an incomplete separation of cerium and the trivalent lanthanides. By contrast, in China, processing of bastnäsite, after concentration, starts with heating with sulfuric acid.

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Guest Maj. Tom

The Prius automobile is the biggest user of rare earths of any object in the world." How much are we talking? Lifton says there's 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of neodymium in the Prius hybrid's electric motor and 10 to 15 kg (22-33 lb) of lanthanum in the car's battery pack. Those figures would likely rise if the car were fitted with a larger battery pack and motor for higher fuel efficiency.

 

Not surprisingly, Toyota is said to be searching for additional suppliers of these materials outside China. An open-pit mine in Mountain Pass, California, is scheduled to begin operations within the next few years and there are reportedly potential sources in Canada and Vietnam.

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Guest Chad Cooper

Praseodymium can be substituted for neodymium in magnets.

 

Has anyone heard of the Kvanefjeld has the world’s largest undeveloped deposits of sodium fluoride.

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In 2002 the United States' most important rare earth mine, operated by Molycorp in Mountain Pass, California was shut down, due to predatory Chinese pricing. South African mining operations also abandoned their supply space to the Chinese. Canada also has large and high grade deposits under development.

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  • 3 months later...
Guest Ron

I thought I should update this:

 

MAJOR SECURITY PROBLEM FOR THE UNITED STATES

 

Rep. Coffman speaks to Bloomberg TV about a recent GAO report's finding: China has cornered the rare earth metals market required to build smart bombs, night-vision goggles and naval radar. Bloomberg's Lindsey Arent reports. (Source: Bloomberg)

 

 

In the next decade, China's military advantage will surpass the United States.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

It gets worse! China is now taking bids to be the leader in the electric hybrid cars with the winners giving up their technology in order to make the electric cars in which China WILL BE THE MAJORITY STAKE HOLDER IN THE CAR COMPANY.

 

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The United States is now completely reliant on China on the manufacture of rare earth metals.

 

Read the reports.

 

rareearth.pdf

 

REEGSC.pdf

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That is the new business model for this generation. Make a big hoopla contest for people to compete, while the elite suck up the money from it. It is done everywhere around the world. Business 3.0.

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Looks like Chinese customs officials are preventing all shipments to Japan of so-called rare earth elements used in a wide range of high-technology products, including hybrid cars, wind turbines and guided missiles.

 

I am sure this will happen to us in the near future.

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Guest Mr. Quick

How long are we in the West going to accept being treated like this by China: no democracy, no freedom, child labor, forced labor, blackmail, assistance to Iran, support of North Korea, cheating on their currency's value, barriers to enter their market, intellectual property theft, tainted food, tainted drugs, the list goes on.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Trade Ministry official Hideyuki Wakutsu said Japan and Vietnam will set up a joint venture to mine rare earths in the Southeast Asian country. Japan currently imports 97 percent of its rare earth mineral from China.

 

Democratic U.S. Representative Ed Markey, who heads the House of Representatives Select Committee on Energy Impendence and Global Warming, wrote a letter urging Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk to investigate the reported Chinese export cuts.

 

Media in China has reported many cases of rare earths smuggling recently. Customs caught a couple in Qingdao who helped a businessman in Zhuhai to disguise 4,000 tons of rare earth as iron oxide and tried to smuggle it overseas.

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