Shri Narendra Modi ji – communist China’s monopoly over rare earth minerals threaten India’s rise


Dear Shri Narendra Modi ji:

You probably already know the comprehensive threat posed to India by communist China’s aggressive rise as an imperial power. I attempt to bring to your notice a relatively obscure issue, the issue of China’s almost complete monopoly of rare earth minerals. For this article, I am deeply indebted to Shri Jayadeva Ranade and I quote extensively from his book ‘China unveiled: Insights into Chinese strategic thinking’.

Chinese communist leadership had determined to ensure a captive, uninterrupted source of supply of rare earth metals. China declared rare earths a secret national top priority in the mid-1980s and in 1997, Deng Xiaoping observed that ‘China would be for rare earth metals what the Middle East is to oil’. This was adopted as the guiding principle. By 2012, China has acquired virtually monopolistic control over the supply of rare earth metals to the world’s market. Though about 42 % of rare earth resources are elsewhere in the world, China is virtually the only country with a significant refinery capacity.

These rare earth metals include Tertium, Dysprosium, Yttrium, Thulium, Intetium, Noedymicum, Europium, Eerium and Lanthanum. These rare earth metals and especially the group of 17 ‘Lanthanide’ elements, are critical for the hi-technology and ‘green’ industry. The metals are irreplaceable and are used in hundreds of technologies ranging from mobile phones, iPods and BlackBerrys to low-light energy bulbs, lasers and aviation. They are integral to the manufacture of wind turbines, electric motors of hybrid cars, superconductors, microscopes and missile guidance systems. Numerous US scientific organizations including the National Minerals Advisory Board and National Academy of Science have determined rare earths as crucial to US national security. Neodymium iron boron magnets (neo magnets), for example, are the world’s strongest permanent magnets and are used in various hi-tech devices from guidance systems of smart bombs to computer hard drives. Other rare earth metals like Lanthanum, Samarium and Praseodymium are critical to hybrid-electric battery production and nuclear submarine technology. Anti-missile systems, jet engines and satellite communications systems are some of the other technologies that use rare earth metals.

Causing serious concern to Japan and other countries is the recent proposal of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology calling for a total ban on rare earth exports like Tertium, Dysprosium, Yttrium, Thulium and Lutetium. Exports of other rare earth metals like Neodymium, Europium, Eerium and Lanthanum will be restricted to 35,000 metrics tonnes a year. This is far below global needs with Japan’s requirements alone exceeding 38,000 metric tonnes a year. Japan, which was victim in 2010 of China’s policy of using economic levers to achieve strategic or foreign policy objectives, has accused China of treating rare earth metal exports as ’21st century economic weapon’. It is now looking for supplies from Vietnam and Malaysia. US senators have also expressed concern at the potential scarcity of rare earth metals.

India’s future is closely linked with Information and Communication technologies (ICT) and ‘Green’ technologies. India must stop China from using monopoly on rare earth minerals as a strategic weapon. We request your government pay urgent attention to this grave risk.

Vande Mataram! Jai Hind!

Thanks and regards,
an ordinary Indian.


7 thoughts on “Shri Narendra Modi ji – communist China’s monopoly over rare earth minerals threaten India’s rise

  1. There`s no shred of doubt that China is clear & present danger to world`s stability, economy and resources , going side by side to you concern about China`s monopoly over rare earths , if you happen to travel across Africa ,the red flag of China is flying. Lucrative deals are being struck to buy its commodities – oil, platinum, gold and minerals and yes the Rare Earths too

    New embassies and air routes are opening up. The continent’s new Chinese elite can be seen everywhere, shopping at their own expensive boutiques, driving Mercedes and BMW limousines, sending their children to exclusive private schools.
    More than a thousand miles of new Chinese railroads are crisscrossing the continent, carrying billions of tons of illegally-logged timber, diamonds and gold. Confucius Institutes (state-funded Chinese ‘cultural centres’) have sprung up throughout Africa, as far afield as the tiny land-locked countries of Burundi and Rwanda, teaching baffled local people how to do business in Mandarin and Cantonese.

    Massive dams are being built, flooding nature reserves. The land is scarred with giant Chinese mines, with ‘slave’ laborers paid less than $1 a day to extract ore and minerals. Pristine forests are being destroyed, with China taking up to 70 per cent of all timber from Africa.

    All over this great continent, the Chinese presence is swelling into a flood. Angola has its own ‘Chinatown’, as do great African cities such as Dar es Salaam and Nairobi.Exclusive, gated compounds, serving only Chinese food, and where no blacks are allowed, are being built all over the continent.

    China is hungry – for land, food and energy. While accounting for a fifth of the world’s population, its oil consumption has risen 35-fold in the past decade and Africa is now providing a third of it; imports of steel, copper and aluminum have also shot up, with Beijing devouring 80 per cent of world supplies
    There is a sinister aspect to this invasion. Chinese-made war planes roar through the African sky, bombing opponents. Chinese-made assault rifles and grenades are being used to fuel countless murderous civil wars, often over the materials the Chinese are desperate to buy

    The government in Khartoum has helped the feared Janjaweed militia to rape, murder and burn to death more than 350,000 people. The Chinese – who now buy half of all Sudan’s oil – have happily provided armored vehicles, aircraft and millions of bullets and grenades in return for lucrative deals. Indeed, an estimated $ 1billion of Chinese cash has been spent on weapons.

    Where will it all end? As far as Beijing is concerned, it will stop only when Africa no longer has any minerals or oil to be extracted from the continent. The people of this bewitching, beautiful continent, where humankind first emerged from the Great Rift Valley, desperately need progress. The Chinese are not in Africa for that.

    They are in Africa to plunder

  2. Well put. Also important is for the PMO and decision makers to be aware that these rare earth materials are mined mostly in TIbet. Water and Rare Earth materials are going to be extracted from the KM region and Tibet in the next few decades. Must remember every river we have originates in the KM basins..

  3. True. At same time we have strategically killed our own CPSU , Indian Rare Earths Limited by curtailing its growth and not funding its exploration activities. I had written about same on the PMOs portal. You have more knowledge on the issue, you may write in dtails to PM on PMOs portal.

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