In an Industry Week piece from earlier this month, Paul Martyn, vice president of supply at BravoSolution, shares his thoughts on the dangers of China’s Rare Earths supply stranglehold from a U.S. manufacturing perspective, and ways to address this challenge.
Here are the key points from the piece:
• China’s near-total Rare Earths monopoly has given it the power to manipulate the REE market through production caps and export controls.
• According to Martyn, the “situation marks a time for manufacturers to break free from China and do what they do best: innovate,” – to “minimize China’s role by leveraging our primary assets and investing in local sourcing.”
• Successfully doubling down on exploring and developing non-Chinese sources of Rare Earths, at least a dozen of which are in the U.S. result in a “resurgence in the industrial backbone of the U.S.
• REE mining in the U.S. would connect three critical assets Martyn says we uniquely possess:
1. An innovative manufacturing industry with modern capabilities and technologies.
2. A supply of rare earth metals to exploit.
3. A large of the supply of natural gas, which could potentially make the fueling of both of these operations more cost effective.
• China’s price manipulations have led tech companies like Apple to move deeper into the supply chain, venturing into the local vertical markets. In doing so, U.S. electronics manufacturers are positioning themselves well against old “industry giants.” According to Martyn, this development points to definitive potential of a domestic manufacturing resurgence.
Martyn’s bottom line:
“In the next five to 10 years, manufacturers should be venturing out and looking for additional sources of supply. By looking at additional sources through folks in the equity world and mining industry, you can begin to get a sense of when additional supply may come out.”