China controls the production to several vital, rare earth elements, and is the only country today that produces europium, dysprosium and terbium. Why are these rare elements important to humanity’s future?
Europium is a rare, critical chemical that makes the red color for television monitors and energy-efficient LED light bulbs, and lanthanum is a primary component of the nickel-metal hydride battery in Toyota’s popular hybrid car, Prius.
Deposits of these rare elements exist in other countries, but only China had the foresight, thanks to engineers, who are also among the rulers of China, that supported building the mining and refining industries capable of processing these materials. The leaders saw the future and acted.
If other countries like America do not support mining and refining these minerals soon, the supply may vanish since China is developing energy efficient industries and products that will stay in China.
One example is China’s wind production efforts to generate energy that could consume all the available neodymium production and leave nothing for the rest of the world’s booming wind industry.
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