Declining use of mineral resources in U.S. worries experts

Posted on January 30, 2012 by Minerals Make Life

As written in a recent E&E News article, America’s use of mineral resources such as aluminum, copper, lead and others is declining, causing increased concern over China’s export restraints on rare earth materials.

“If you need a particular item at the end of the supply chain and you don’t have secure supplies…then you have vulnerabilities,” said W. David Menzie, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey’s global minerals analysis section, at a recent U.S. – China Economic and Security Review Commission hearing.

Currently, China is responsible for 95 percent of world production of rare earths and manufactures more than 80 percent of minerals that are used in everyday items from hybrid car batteries to smartphones.

As explained by E&E news:

China manufactures more than 80 percent of such minerals as lutetium, terbium and dysprosium, which are then used in everything from smartphones to hybrid car batteries. But export quotas that China is attempting to impose on such resources have raised the ire of U.S. trade officials, who have threatened to bring the issue to the World Trade Organization.

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