China Hoarding Precious Metals That Everybody Needs, Maybe

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Have you heard about "rare earth metals"? Ha ha, of course not, you're a moronic American slob, not some kind of "scientist." Rare earth metals are metals that are somewhat rare and from the earth, and are crucial for making the components used in both the dumb electronics gizmos that you play with to substitute for the affection your fellow humans will not or cannot give you, and also for making the components that go into the death machines that our military uses to kill everyone. Oh, and guess who owns all the rare earth metals, and maybe is not going to let anyone else have them? TheRed Chinese!


The New York Times had an alarmist story this morning about how the Chinese quietly stopped exporting these metals to everyone, because the U.S. is investigating claims that China has been illegally subsidizing some of its energy exports. This move would bring human civilization to its knees, but the Chinese insist that no, they're not doing that at all, they're just "set[ting] reasonable export quotas for 2011, taking into consideration the production output, domestic and international demands, and the need for sustainable development." So, ha ha, no apocalypse, yet. But maybe soon?

"They are the largest consumer of the metals in the world and are really moving into high tech," said Martin Hennecke, an associate director at Hong Kong-based consulting firm Tyche Group. "They want to secure their own supply, because China is consuming 60 percent of those metals there."

It actually turns out that even though China exports 95 percent of the world's rare earths, it only has about a third of the world's supply. That's because most countries don't want to befoul their environment and work their people to death in mines if the Chinese are willing to do it. But poppa needs a new iPhone, so let's start digging, people. [NYT/CNN]

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