Strategic Metals: China’s got the Pentagon shaking in its boots

Posted by Energy & Capital - Hard Assets Investor

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What’s got the Pentagon so worried?

With more than 97% of the world’s rare earth metals produced in China, its recent announcement of a 72% reduction in exports could screw the US military…

The Pentagon is scrambling for alternatives, but they don’t really have time to scramble.

Rare earth resource demand must be met.

Without these metals, technological advancements are history. The world in which we have become accustomed to living in and the way in which we work, communicate, and progress will change drastically.

And not just for the military…

….read more HERE

Strategic Metals: An Introduction 


What Are Strategic Metals?
Some time back in the last quarter of the 20th century, strategic metals came to be defined generally as metals vital to modern technology and industry, but that have sources susceptible to disruption. In other words, they are metals you really need, but someone else has.
Strategic metals are distinct from “precious” metals, like silver and gold, because most are not as vital to either technology and industry in the same way. Likewise, they differ from “base” metals, such as copper, lead, iron and zinc, in that those metals are relatively abundant in locations around the world.

While some strategic metals like chromium, manganese or tungsten are produced on a relatively large scale, many others are produced in extraordinarily small quantities. For example, only an estimated 140 tonnes of germanium was produced in 2010, while only an estimated 10 tonnes of thallium, a highly toxic element, was produced.
A large number of strategic metals are actually byproducts from base metal refining—some are even byproducts of byproducts!

Which Metals Are Strategic?
Sounding somewhat like the lyrics from Harvard mathematician Tom Lehrer’s song “The Elements,” the strategic metals are usually considered to include:


*Platinum group metals (PGM), a group that also includes platinum (Pt) and palladium (Pd).
‡Rare Earth Metals: Usually taken to include the so-called lanthanides, which include lanthanum (La), cerium (Ce), praseodymium (Pr), neodymium (Nd), promethium (Pm), samarium (Sm), europium, (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), terbium (Tb), dysprosium (Dy), holmium (Ho), erbium (Er), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb) and lutetium (Lu), scandium (Sc) and yttrium (Y).


Source:      (For a larger view, please click on the image above.)

Some names may seem familiar, while others, not so much. Maybe you’ve only heard of, say, indium or selenium in the context of various “boiler room” scams run out of Canada, or even California, Nevada or Texas.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone! It appears that, despite their importance, even the U.S. Department of Defense doesn’t have a good handle on strategic metals either.

… page 2 HERE