China expands rare earth tech ban

China, the world’s top processor of rare earths, has added technology to make rare earth magnets to its “Catalogue of Technologies Prohibited and Restricted from Export,” which aims to protect national security and public interest, reported Reuters.

“This should be a clarion call that dependence on China in any part of the value chain is not sustainable,” said Nathan Picarsic, co-founder of the geopolitical consulting firm Horizon Advisory.

China’s commerce ministry sought public opinion on the potential move to add the technology to prepare smarium-cobalt magnets, neodymium-iron-boron magnets and cerium magnets to the list, which also includes technology to make rare-earth calcium oxyborate and production technology for rare earth metals.

China has significantly tightened rules guiding exports of several metals in 2023, in an escalating battle with the West over control of critical minerals. The news agency said China introduced export permits for chipmaking materials gallium and germanium in August, followed by similar requirements for several types of graphite since December.

“China is driven to maintain its market dominance,” said Don Swartz, CEO of American Rare Earths, which is developing a rare earths mine and processing facility in Wyoming, USA. “This is now a race.”

Source: Reuters

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