China’s monopoly on rare earths
It’s a rare fight. The US, Europe and Japan have lodged a formal complaintwith the World Trade Organization over China’s export of rare earths – or lack of it.
Despite their name, rare earths can be mined on most continents, although the cost of extraction has been too high to be economical. China’s quotas may have helped push up demand – and prices – enough to make extraction cost-effective.