Military Review

China, if desired, can disrupt the production of high-tech military products in the US

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China, if desired, can disrupt the production of high-tech military products in the US

In its new report, the Pentagon informed Congress that the US military industry was in a “critical dependence” on imports of Chinese rare earth metals and recommends finding alternative supply channels. These metals are used for the production of high-tech military products.


This is a group of rare-earth metals from 17 species with unique magnetic properties, which are vital for the production of high-tech products ranging from smartphones and ending with hybrid batteries for cars. These elements are also of great importance for the production of high-tech military products, including high-precision guided bombs and modern fighters, night vision goggles and laser designators.

China produces 95% of the total world volume of rare earth oxides. In the United States, Chinese products of this kind occupy almost monopoly positions, and in Washington they have raised the alarm that since last year Beijing has been moving towards the introduction of export quotas for their deliveries. The Pentagon report states that "it is very important that the United States does not depend on China in this strategically important area of ​​imports."

Last year, the US Department of Defense launched a comprehensive study to examine the country's national security potential on dependence on the import of rare earth metals. But this study has not been made public. The latest report notes that the Pentagon has made some efforts to identify US companies that could be involved in the process of converting rare earth oxides to metals. It is also reported that the Pentagon has predicted the possible consequences associated with interruptions in the supply of such elements.

In the report, the Pentagon proposes several recommendations to Congress to reduce dependence on imports of these metals. Among other things, it is recommended to start developing strategic reserves of these raw materials in the United States with a priority in supplying them primarily with the military industry. The most important are such metals as dysprosium, yttrium, praseodymium and neodymium.

Some of the recommendations of the report were sent to the Center for a New American Security, which has close ties with the administration of the US president, for study. This year, the Center made a report where it called on the government to seriously consider the possible negative consequences in this area of ​​imports. Report author Christine Christine Pafoumour (Christine Parthemore) concludes that China’s dominance in the global market for rare earth metals gives this country "incredible leverage over the rest of the world." Staff thinker Will Rogers (Will Rogers) said that the Pentagon sent a "good signal" to encourage the creation of new supply chains that are not dependent on China.

Lawmakers have already taken this issue into account. This year, Rep. Mike Coffman (Mike Coffman, Republican of Colorado) presented a draft bill on the production of rare earth metals in the United States. “I think it’s very positive that the Ministry of Defense has publicly acknowledged the existence of the problem of our dependence on China in the field of rare-earth metals,” the congressman said.
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  1. merkawa
    merkawa 11 October 2011 11: 07 New
    +2
    I wonder where we buy these rare earths, not in China by chance?
    1. raf
      raf 12 October 2011 21: 57 New
      -1
      I don’t remember exactly, but some professor said that Russia is the only self-sufficient country in the world! That is, in our country there are all the minerals that are necessary! The main thing is to be able to use them!
      1. serjio777
        serjio777 11 June 2012 20: 42 New
        0
        And your pro-professor didn’t guess, we simply moved further than others here ... and that’s all.
  2. Vadivak
    Vadivak 11 October 2011 11: 24 New
    +1
    According to rumors, the Americans recently bought the Soviet metallurgical plant Silmet (Estonia) where they will process and produce the necessary products from Chinese raw materials for real pennies, but their price does not suit them

    the plant supplies niobium powder; rare metals; cesium; optical polishing powder PF; niobium bullion;
    1. zczczc
      zczczc 11 October 2011 13: 55 New
      0
      Vadivak, and where does the plant get the ore of these metals?
      1. Vadivak
        Vadivak 11 October 2011 14: 56 New
        +1
        Oleg! It used to be understood from the USSR, now the main supplier is China, the plant has been bought, money has been invested, well, you understand, there are concerns

        We have conducted research on the creation and improvement of technologies for the extraction of rare metals from various raw materials for a long time. Even when the USSR was in place, effective technologies for the extraction of rare-earth metals (hereinafter REM) from apatite were developed and tested. According to experts, by the beginning of the new millennium, Russia occupied the 2nd place in the world (after China) in the REM balance sheet reserves and the first in the predicted reserves. The most accessible Russian sources of rare earth metals are the Lovozero loparite and Khibiny apatitonefelin ores on the Kola Peninsula. Apatite has an advantage over loparite in the composition and content of more valuable yttrium, medium and heavy rare earths
        In Russia, the level of consumption of rare-earth metals stopped growing after 1990, while in the world a steady increase in their consumption began by 4-9% annually (Fig. 1). By 1999, the consumption of rare-earth metals in Russia dropped to a record high of 0,4 thousand tons. The production of loparite concentrate, the only source of rare-earth metal extraction by that time, dropped to 1 thousand tons per year. In the 90s. the last Russian REM reserves were sold uncontrollably. For example, in 1995, 2470 tons of rare-earth products were sold to Japan, in 1997 to France - 1560 tons of rare-earth carbonates, etc.. Only after 2000 did they begin to talk about the desirable revival of the production and consumption of rare-earth metals in Russia. In 2000, the Giredmet Institute conducted market research on the Russian market of RE products. It was concluded that until 2005, the demand for the main areas of use in it could increase to 8 thousand tons, that is, to reach the level of 1990. But this forecast was not destined to come true: in 2005, the consumption of rare-earth metals in Russia, according to official sources, amounted to only 2 thousand tons, and that was due to insignificant imports from China and the use of reserve balances from Soviet times.
        And in the world throughout this period (1990-2005) there was a dynamic growth in the production and consumption of RE products Since 1990, China has become a leader in this area, which today extracts and produces 85% of the world's primary RE products. Its developing industry currently consumes a little over a quarter of its primary production. Since 2003, China has sharply reduced the share of exports of primary cheap rare-earth concentrates, increased its separation capacity for individual rare-earth metals, and has become the world leader in the production of more expensive rare-earth metals, goods, and many products for almost all modern areas of rare-earth metals.
        1. zczczc
          zczczc 11 October 2011 17: 43 New
          0
          mda :(
          And then proser.
  3. Ion coaelung
    Ion coaelung 11 October 2011 14: 35 New
    0
    It’s very important that the United States is not dependent on China in this strategically important area of ​​import

    This is how they will cease to depend on China receiving Chinese resources?
  4. atheist
    atheist 11 October 2011 18: 09 New
    0
    75-80% of rare-earth metals are in China, 1-2% Japan, 10-15 to Russia and Europe, as it was 5 years ago
  5. APASUS
    APASUS 11 October 2011 18: 43 New
    +2
    I don’t have to bow to the Pindos! Well, not to bomb the world factory?
  6. Kyrgyz
    Kyrgyz 11 October 2011 19: 40 New
    0
    in mongolia there are many rekozemov
    1. does it
      does it 11 October 2011 21: 19 New
      0
      China considers Mongolia its t-her.
  7. does it
    does it 11 October 2011 21: 17 New
    0
    they are economically dependent on each other.
  8. Sergh
    Sergh 12 October 2011 12: 47 New
    0
    In Russia, very large deposits of rare metals are explored, and even not all of them are in the northern territory, but not developed. The stocks are very huge. Now they are lying and waiting in line. Well, sort of like an untouchable supply. They were still engaged in the Stalinist Gullags. Never pozno to pick open.