Rare Earth Elements: Who Will Win the War? China or U.S.?

By: SiliconExpert on June 4th, 2019

Global Tariffs Could Impact Your Business If Rare Earth Elements Are Sourced Within Your Supply Chain

Rare Earth Element or Rare Earth Metal is one of a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table specifically the fifteen lanthanides, as well as scandium and yttrium. Scandium and yttrium are considered rare earth elements because they tend to occur in the same ore deposits as the lanthanides and exhibit similar chemical properties.

In the early 1990s, the rare earth mineral mining industry was a competitive market involving a number of participating countries. With access to cheap labor and lack of environmental regulations, Chinese suppliers manipulated the market through predatory pricing.

Recently President Xi Jinping visited the Chinese city of Ganzhou.  According to a recent article issued by Reuters , this visit by President Xi Jinping delivered a double message:

Message #1:  Things are going to get tough, but we’ll win in the end.

Message #2:  If you’re going to ban Huawei and impose tariffs on our goods, you might want to consider who supplies all the groovy metals that make your modern technology possible.

Based on the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), just four countries mine the majority of the world’s supply of rare earth elements.  China is one of those four producing 130,000 metric tons in 2010, which is 97% of the total yield.

The United States sourced 80% of its rare earth imports from China in 2014-2017


As Chinese newspapers warned they would squeeze the supply of rare earth elements in response to imposed tariff, it has sparked market tension and has prompted investors to flee to safer zones.  European shares fell on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 exemplifying market impact.

Do You Know How Rare Earth Elements Impact Your Business?

SiliconExpert has the data and expertise to help you identify the products that contain rare earths element as well the country of origin and potential impact to your business.



Stay Informed and StayVigilant – contact your SiliconExpert representative today at sales@siliconexpert.com to learn more about rare earth elements and impacts to your business.