EU Set to Stockpile Rare Earth Elements (REEs).
13 Sep, 2011 03:23 pm
In order to address the shortfall in REEs for vital renewable energy projects caused by China's restriction of them onto the world markets for its own use, the European Union is set to stockpile mixed rate earth metal carbonates at a rate of 3,000 tonnes per annum.
In response to this threat, the European Union (EU) is looking into building a stockpile of REEs, in the form of a mixed carbonate of these metals. This follows-on from the British government's recent "strategic metals plan", in which securing supplies of key metals including REEs is perceived as critical to the future economy and in meeting carbon-emissions targets. It is proposed that an annual 3,000 tonnes of REE mixed carbonate be garnered.
This amount is the stable output of the European Molycorp Silmet production of the material and is matched by that from the company's U.S.-based REE production, amounting to 10% of the world market following the imposition of quotas by China.
The growth of the mighty Chinese economy has taken its toll on the U.S.-based solar energy firm, Solyndra, which has filed for bankruptcy - indeed the third such company to fold against Chinese competition recently. Such growth must be underpinned by resources, of metals and other elements, and of energy. It is predicted that by 2020, Chinese demand for crude oil will match that of the U.S., and one can only wonder at what point supply of such critical commodities will fail.