Rare Earths: China Demonstrates Market Dominance

Dec 2023

Technologies surrounding neodymium and other rare earth elements may no longer be exported.

According to corresponding media reports, China will ban the export of certain technologies for the mining and processing of rare earths as well as the production of permanent magnets. As with the export restrictions for gallium and germanium, the move is being justified with reference to national security, Reuters reports.

The first indications of the ban announced by the customs authority today, Thursday, were already made in April. Even then, the Japanese government expressed concern, as China dominates the global market for neodymium and samarium-cobalt magnets. Both are important components for the energy and transportation transition, areas that are currently driving strong demand.

According to Bloomberg (paywall), the announcement is not an export ban on rare earth products but rather a move to slow down efforts to build up its own value chains outside China. In recent years, international calls to become less dependent on the People’s Republic and build up their own industry have become louder, a move that has probably not gone unnoticed by Beijing.

Photo: iStock/GARAGE38

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