has china missed a 'rare' opportunity with rare earths


Deng Xiaoping, former leader of China previously stated ‘rare earth will do for China what oil did for Saudi Arabia’ – and the real extent of this statement is only starting to come to fruition now. The prominence of high-tech devices in our personal and professional lives has meant that rare earths are key components in smartphones, TV’s, laptops and DVD players.

WEEE Systems applauds the awareness of natural resources, in particular rare metals in modern-day manufacturing. However, leading organisations should take this thinking one step further and implement a revolutionary de-manufacturing process in order to responsibly reuse the reclaimed copper and rare earths in existing end-of-life E&E equipment. This issue will need to be addressed if Beijing imposes a production cap of 93,800 metric tonnes for 2011 and cuts the exports of materials by 10% this year – with China producing the vast majority of rare earths it is inevitable that there will be a global supply-demand imbalance. 

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