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More REEs if You Please - Supply Chain Management and Industrial High-Tech Manufacturing
By Lance Winslow

Holding REEs for ransom is a rather troubling circumstance, as those elements are needed for all the high-tech manufacturing we do in the US. Unfortunately, if 93% of the world's REEs are mined in China, then that does give them an ace card in international trade negotiations. Indeed, one could ask why, that is to say why have the Chinese captured this market, and why have we stopped mining these REEs here in the USA?

Well, it's a long complicated story of regulation, unions, costs, insurance, environmental issues, and a misunderstanding of bureaucrats and politicians of the importance of this component of the supply chain to our industrial base, as well as our national security.

In fact, there was an interesting article recently in the Wall Street Journal concern Rare Earth Elements and the recent investments made by investment banks into US based and Australian based mines to counteract the Chinese move to limit the amount of REEs (rare earth elements) mined in their country for exports, as a way to coax high-tech manufacturing to set-up shop in China, employing Chinese citizens, and many suspect to capture intellectual property, which is a huge concern as you might suspect.

The name of this article was; "Rare Earths Seen Growing Less Rare" by David Fickling, which was published in the Asia Technology section. In case you are unfamiliar with this topic please go search that article online and then come back to this article and let's talk. The article states;

The demand for rare earth elements that has driven up prices more than tenfold since 2009 is likely to be met by a surplus of supply by 2013, as Western companies start up new mines to compete with the Chinese firms that now dominate the market, Goldman Sachs analysts predicted Thursday. The forecast calls into question the sustainability of the current boom in rare earths, a suite of 17 elements used in products from high-powered magnets, and fuel refining to energy-efficient light bulbs and mobile phone screens, as well as the shares of companies seeking to produce them.

Now then, should any of this surprise us at this point? Obviously, when there is a bottleneck in the supply chain or a crisis, in this case created by China to give it the advantage, then someone, or many groups will work to take advantage of such an opportunity - remember the Chinese Symbol for both Crisis and Opportunity?

Indeed, it is my hope that you will personally do your due diligence on this huge issue of concern, and get yourself educated as to what is going on out there, and why this latest development is paramount to our Nation's strength and future. Please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow is the Founder of the Online Think Tank, a diverse group of achievers, experts, innovators, entrepreneurs, thinkers, futurists, academics, dreamers, leaders, and general all around brilliant minds. Lance Winslow hopes you've enjoyed today's discussion and topic. - Have an important subject to discuss, contact Lance Winslow.

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