U.S. Faces Uphill Climb to Rival China’s Rare-Earth Magnet Industry

The Wall Street Journal – April 11, 2021

Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal:

Businesses and governments across the West are gearing up to counter China’s dominance in a key component of modern technology: the magnet. But the dozens of companies jostling for government support will struggle to establish a supply chain to rival China’s rare-earth magnet industry, which has a decadeslong head start and steadfast state support, analysts and executives say.

Powerful magnets made of rare-earth minerals are essential components in electric-vehicle motors, wind turbines and other technology. China mines over 70% of the world’s rare earths and is responsible for 90% of the complex process of turning them into magnets, analysts say. That dominance gives Beijing sway over makers of various fast-growing technologies.

The U.S. government is investing tens of millions of dollars in efforts to mine and process rare earths. President Biden in February signed an executive order directing a review of supply chains for critical materials, including rare earths. His recent infrastructure plan also pledged investment in rare-earth separation projects. Officials in Europe...


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