China’s Chokehold on Rare Earth Metals

March 10, 2011

The world’s largest technology companies have set their sites on Malaysia as the new El Dorado. These companies are risking millions in an attempt to mine rare earth metals which are crucial for things such as Apple’s Iphone, Toyota Prius and smart bombs used by our own government. China has control over 95% of all the rare earth metals on the Earth today. The process of mining the rare earth metals results in thousands of tons of low radioactive dirt which is one of the outputs of the mining process. Most people have decided to leave it to China to mine these metals because no other country feels like dealing with the amount of radioactive waste that the process produces. However,  a new refining process has been developed and the technology companies have now focused their attention to Malaysia because of the amount of rare earth metals located in the earth. The reason this is such a risk is because the refining process which is necessary. China’s  processing plants completely disregard the toxic waste and just dump it wherever they please. Malaysia will not allow this though, so the companies are risking their fortune on the cleanliness of the waste after refining. If the processing and refining is successful, then this will more than  certainly lead to an end of China’s chokehold on the rare earth metals.

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