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Internal DND study calls green technology minerals 21st-century 'oil weapon'

daftandbarmy

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Some new 'vital ground' to feed into defence planning, national resource management programming, and Eco-warrior off pissing :)

Internal DND study calls green technology minerals 21st-century 'oil weapon'​

Skyrocketing demand for copper, lithium and rare earths sparks geopolitical race, worrying environmentalists​


Minerals needed to power the green transition from fossil fuels could become "the 21st-century version of the 'oil weapon,'" warns an internal study commissioned by Canada's Department of National Defence.

There is widespread agreement among scientists that drastic cuts in fossil fuel consumption are needed to stave off catastrophic climate change — and a transition to electric cars, wind and solar power form key pillars of this shift.

But as countries race to adopt more electric technologies, investors and governments are battling to control access to commodities like copper, lithium and rare earths from remote regions. This has led many observers to fear that the green transition could have echoes of the tension and violence characterizing the global pursuit of oil.

"The explosive growth of electronic devices in the past decade, coupled with fast-moving advances in green technologies such as wind power and electric vehicles, are driving the increase in demand for REEs [rare earth elements]," said the study produced for DND in 2020, and accessed under freedom of information legislation.

 

SeaKingTacco

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Some new 'vital ground' to feed into defence planning, national resource management programming, and Eco-warrior off pissing :)

Internal DND study calls green technology minerals 21st-century 'oil weapon'​

Skyrocketing demand for copper, lithium and rare earths sparks geopolitical race, worrying environmentalists​


Minerals needed to power the green transition from fossil fuels could become "the 21st-century version of the 'oil weapon,'" warns an internal study commissioned by Canada's Department of National Defence.

There is widespread agreement among scientists that drastic cuts in fossil fuel consumption are needed to stave off catastrophic climate change — and a transition to electric cars, wind and solar power form key pillars of this shift.

But as countries race to adopt more electric technologies, investors and governments are battling to control access to commodities like copper, lithium and rare earths from remote regions. This has led many observers to fear that the green transition could have echoes of the tension and violence characterizing the global pursuit of oil.

"The explosive growth of electronic devices in the past decade, coupled with fast-moving advances in green technologies such as wind power and electric vehicles, are driving the increase in demand for REEs [rare earth elements]," said the study produced for DND in 2020, and accessed under freedom of information legislation.

Well, no crap…
 

brihard

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The article is focusing on the use of these minerals in things like windmill generators and car batteries, but they're also used in things like missile seeker heads, integrated circuits, precision navigation systems, NVGs, lasers, jet engines...

I was invested in that sector some years ago, and got to have a front row seat as China flexed its muscles to kill the economics of several rare earths mining projects both in North America and abroad. They have a very good grasp of how by the balls they have us on this, and have already acted to protect their cornering of this market. We ignore it at our peril.
 

Spencer100

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The article is focusing on the use of these minerals in things like windmill generators and car batteries, but they're also used in things like missile seeker heads, integrated circuits, precision navigation systems, NVGs, lasers, jet engines...

I was invested in that sector some years ago, and got to have a front row seat as China flexed its muscles to kill the economics of several rare earths mining projects both in North America and abroad. They have a very good grasp of how by the balls they have us on this, and have already acted to protect their cornering of this market. We ignore it at our peril.
They have a plan. We do not. Most of the time I like it that way.

The only plan we have is the "feels" The new green deal is the Feels and everything the progressive green global business alliance ever wanted. That is our "plan." China see it for what it is and will work it.
 

daftandbarmy

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The article is focusing on the use of these minerals in things like windmill generators and car batteries, but they're also used in things like missile seeker heads, integrated circuits, precision navigation systems, NVGs, lasers, jet engines...

I was invested in that sector some years ago, and got to have a front row seat as China flexed its muscles to kill the economics of several rare earths mining projects both in North America and abroad. They have a very good grasp of how by the balls they have us on this, and have already acted to protect their cornering of this market. We ignore it at our peril.

And the muscle will be used with transparent force at some point, until we get our resource development sector on the job of developing our own sector:

China’s Rare Earth Metals Consolidation and Market Power

Rare earth metals or “rare earths,” a collection of 17 elements[1] that are valued for their conductive and magnetic properties, have made headlines again. Over the past year and a half, their prices have risen to levels not seen since their peak in 2011. What’s more, in December 2021, Beijing approved the merger of three of China’s biggest rare earth metals state-owned enterprises (SOEs)—China Minmetals Rare Earth, Chinalco Rare Earth & Metals, and China Southern Rare Earth Group—along with two other companies—Ganzhou Zhonglan Rare Earth New Material Technology and Jiangxi Ganzhou Rare Metal Exchange. The merger created the world’s second largest rare earths producer, accounting for 30 percent of China’s total rare earth metals production and 60-70 percent of its heavy rare earth metals production.

The new company, reportedly named China Rare Earth Group, is the latest product of a decade-long effort by Beijing to consolidate China’s rare earths industry. The effort is one of several that Beijing has pursued to gain greater control over industries that it sees as having strategic importance, from defense and energy to technology and telecommunications. And certainly, Beijing views its rare earths industry as being strategically important, as Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping himself noted in 2019. Echoing that view, China’s state-run media has repeatedly lauded the usefulness of the industry as leverage in China’s disputes with Western countries, particularly the United States

Beijing has faced few barriers to the consolidation of the Chinese rare earths industry. But if China’s ever-growing companies are to maintain their global dominance over rare earths production, they will have to more aggressively expand overseas. It turns out rare earth metals are not so rare; they are found all over the world. And as the world has grown more aware of the value of rare earth metals, the ability of Chinese companies to easily strike favorable deals may wane.

 

Brad Sallows

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I have confidence market forces will prevail, if they are permitted to flex.
 

brihard

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The issue a decade back was that China helped to crash spot prices. The economics of early stage mining ventures are already dubious, and they were able to basically torpedo market conditions enough that exploration stage ventures couldn’t secure loans or capital financing. Several very promising deposits went undeveloped because the companies with the mineral rights went belly up.
 

Navy_Pete

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I don't think we even need to go look all the way down to rare earth minerals, it's the same thing for processed metals and castings.

A lot of western countries are getting away from heavy industry because it's 'dirty' so increasingly your only source for some steel plate, large bronze castings etc is in Asia, with a lot in China.

Great to think about the high tech gear, but if we can't get steel plate, valves etc to build the low tech parts of the ship, it doesn't really matter, and I'm sure the US producers will have us low on the priority list if there is a wartime surge needed..
 

Brad Sallows

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Several very promising deposits went undeveloped because the companies with the mineral rights went belly up.

Someone with big pockets can always manipulate markets. But demand isn't static. Manipulation works until demand pressure increases to where manipulation is unaffordable. Then all the big pocket money effectively has been flushed (opportunity cost). I welcome China frittering away fiscal resources.
 
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