Reuters reported that China has made it clear that it would rather be the largest rare earth consumer than the biggest rare earth exporter, and may begin importing the metals as early as 2014.
As quoted in the market news:
“By 2014 or 2015, China will probably be in a net import situation for certain rare earths,” said Mark Smith, chief executive of Colorado-based miner Molycorp, which this year acquired China-based Neo Material Technologies to boost its processing know-how and its presence in China.
“When the demand is there, that’s where the supply has to go. Over 80 percent of the magnets produced in the world come from China and that is growing just tremendously every year,” Smith told Reuters in an interview.
“Simply put, we don’t think China can keep up with the demand for rare earths,” [Smith] said. “They are going to have to go to the outside.”