China's Rare Earth Monopoly Is Diminishing

Some while ago, rare earth metals important in the production of microchips, electronics and electric motors were almost exclusively sourced in China. However, as Statista's Katharina Buchholz notes, in recent years, several nations have picked up production again while new players entered the market, diversifying it at least to some degree.

Infographic: China's Rare Earth Monopoly is Diminishing | Statista

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China was still responsible for almost two thirds of global production in 2019, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. But as many countries are wary of depending on China, especially when it comes to technology products, countries with rare earth deposits are likely to exploit them further. The U.S., however, is still shipping its rare earths to China for processing, but a first processing plant on American soil is in the planning stages with funding help from the U.S. army.

China also has the largest know deposits of rare earths, but Brazil, Vietnam and Russia also have a lot of (largely) untapped potential in the sector. The United States and Australia ramped up production of rare earths after 2010 and most recently, Myanmar has been mining considerable amount. As seen in the chart above, the U.S. had in the past mined and produced rare earths for military uses and re-entered the market as rare earths were getting more important as a part of the implementation of crucial technologies.