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China and Molycorp: what could have been

The New American recently provided an in-depth look at Chinese investments into the world’s minerals and metals supply. I’ve included an excerpt below, but I recommend you click here to read the full article. While the piece was certainly compelling, I want to point out a few key facts that were not included. The author, William F. Jasper, correctly mentions that a Chinese state entity tried to purchase Unocal in 2005 but was rebuffed; and that’s where things get interesting.

Back then, Unocal had a division called Molycorp (the then-shuttered rare earths mine). We have talked about Molycorp here before – take a look. I find it interesting that had that particular deal gone through, then China would have controlled Molycorp altogether. Today, the $6 billion company leads the U.S. effort to reverse (yes, that’s right) Chinese domination of our rare earth resources.

Excerpt: Now China, which already controls 97 percent of the global rare earth metals production, is trying to buy up America’s rare earth deposits. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg; it’s also targeted our gold, lithium, oil, gas, molybdenum and other critical mineral and energy resources. The Japan/rare earth incident and China’s more truculent tone toward America should send some sobering messages.