China, ‘rare earths’ and the global fight for resources

Chinas has recently set an unofficial embargo on the export of the so-called ‘rare earths’ which enter into the composition of plenty of our daily life products such as mobile phones, cars, medical devices etc… Since 95% of the current worldwide production of this precious metals is located in China, this country is in an extremetly powerful position, at least in the near time as it takes time to find and open or re-open mines…and it takes even longer to deploy the best policy in terms of sustainability which is cutting the use of those materials and where absolutely necessary to engage into a full recycling… 

Japanese companies and Japan were the first to be in trouble but German companies started to complain as well with some of them facing shortages…Japan is already looking to exploit those materials in other countries meaning further damage to the environment

Unfortunately the ‘resource efficiency’ agenda is far from moving into concrete developments at a global level. While the EU has set ‘resource efficiency’ as one of its flagship initiative in its ‘Europe 2020’ strategy, there are no elements on how resource efficiency will be praticaly boosted…



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