The battle ground is probably spread out further than what most of us recognize. Most of us may not really recognize that we are even engaged in this conflict either. Mining is just one of those battlefields. Rare earth minerals give us the elements that result in those consumer goods like lithium batteries that charge everything like cell phones or electric cars or high tech military pieces. Several years ago rare earth minerals were weaponized by the Chinese all in a fire fight with Japan. China restricted the sale of those materials needed by Japan in their manufacturing industry. This resulted in other countries which are reliant upon many of these minerals that China produces being rudely awakened. Now these countries have gone on to seek alternatives and many of these countries have begun to unify (Mining Article 09-29-2019). The search for new sources is resulting in new mineral mining projects popping up all over the world and contracts are being cancelled in an effort to secure their supply needs.
Part of this struggle domestically is clearing any of the issues that hinder the development of mines in the United States. The United States is facing their own challenges and their own solutions (Reuters Article 09-23-2019). The regulatory impediments will fall away as the market reacts to and applies pressure to regulators. President Trump has declared rare earth minerals as being critical to their national defense. All of these gymnastics has elevated the creation of new mines and refining options to a new priority (Reuters Article 09-23-2019).
Elsewhere in the world, Lynas has ramped up its production and is experiencing increased revenues as seen recently. The establishment of another processing facility is rapidly moving forward too. Northern Minerals, another Australian miner, entered into a contract with a German firm to provide Dysprosium and Terbium to the Germans. This ends a contract to provide minerals to China. Even the impact is being felt in Burundi as the revenues realized from mining exceed coffee and tea export revenues,
They say “War is Hell”, but this trade war is just heating up and mining is enjoying the spoils of war.