Sexy metal: the missing element in the Korean puzzle

Sep 2013
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo knows the importance of rare earth elements, and North Korea has reportedly found one of the world's biggest deposits 150km from Pyongyang; is this another factor behind the recent thaw with the US?

By PEPE ESCOBAR JUNE 20, 2018 7:37 PM (UTC+8)

This may not be about condos on North Korean beaches after all. Arguably, the heart of the matter in the Trump administration’s embrace of Kim Jong-un has everything to do with one of the largest deposits of rare earth elements (REEs) in the world, located only 150 km northwest of Pyongyang and potentially worth billions of US dollars.

All the implements of 21st century technology-driven everyday life rely on the chemical and physical properties of 17 precious elements on the periodic chart also known as REEs.

Currently, China is believed to control over 95% of global production of rare earth metals, with an estimated 55 million tons in deposits. North Korea for its part holds at least 20 million tons.

Rare earth elements are not the only highly strategic minerals and metals in this power play. The same deposits are sources of tungsten, zirconium, titanium, hafnium, rhenium and molybdenum; all of these are absolutely critical not only for myriad military applications but also for nuclear power.

Rare earth metallurgy also happens to be essential for US, Russian and Chinese weapons systems. The THAAD system needs rare earth elements, and so do Russia’s S-400 and S-500 missile defense systems.

Sexy metal: the missing element in the Korean puzzle | Asia Times

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Mar 2012
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I have to think this is true and it just may be possible that Trump and President Xi have cut a deal to take chunks of it. As we know its pretty rare for the US to give a hoot unless its something tangible we can take. I thought I had seen as well that they had lithium which as we all know is desperately needed for batteries.
 
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Jan 2014
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California
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo knows the importance of rare earth elements, and North Korea has reportedly found one of the world's biggest deposits 150km from Pyongyang; is this another factor behind the recent thaw with the US?

By PEPE ESCOBAR JUNE 20, 2018 7:37 PM (UTC+8)

This may not be about condos on North Korean beaches after all. Arguably, the heart of the matter in the Trump administration’s embrace of Kim Jong-un has everything to do with one of the largest deposits of rare earth elements (REEs) in the world, located only 150 km northwest of Pyongyang and potentially worth billions of US dollars.

All the implements of 21st century technology-driven everyday life rely on the chemical and physical properties of 17 precious elements on the periodic chart also known as REEs.

Currently, China is believed to control over 95% of global production of rare earth metals, with an estimated 55 million tons in deposits. North Korea for its part holds at least 20 million tons.

Rare earth elements are not the only highly strategic minerals and metals in this power play. The same deposits are sources of tungsten, zirconium, titanium, hafnium, rhenium and molybdenum; all of these are absolutely critical not only for myriad military applications but also for nuclear power.

Rare earth metallurgy also happens to be essential for US, Russian and Chinese weapons systems. The THAAD system needs rare earth elements, and so do Russia’s S-400 and S-500 missile defense systems.

Sexy metal: the missing element in the Korean puzzle | Asia Times

More at the link
Ms. Labrea,

I would say China telling North korea to cut it out because they need those rare earths had a lot to do with the thaw.
 
Apr 2012
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All bets are off - the rising seas will roil the markets such the world has never seen.
 
Sep 2013
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Ms. Labrea,

I would say China telling North korea to cut it out because they need those rare earths had a lot to do with the thaw.
How do you figure, I dont follow your logic?

Mao said, Chinas relationship to China is as close as“lips to teeth”.
 
Jan 2014
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How do you figure, I dont follow your logic?

Mao said, Chinas relationship to China is as close as“lips to teeth”.
Ms. Labrea,

If China says jump, North Korea asks "how high."

China has spent the past decade locking up all the rare earth supplies in the world. You don't think their forays into Africa are just to help an underdeveloped Continent, do you?
 
Sep 2013
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Ms. Labrea,

If China says jump, North Korea asks "how high."

China has spent the past decade locking up all the rare earth supplies in the world. You don't think their forays into Africa are just to help an underdeveloped Continent, do you?
And that would inspire China to broker a better relationship with the US, why?
 
Jan 2014
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And that would inspire China to broker a better relationship with the US, why?
Ms. labrea,

As long as there are strict sanctions imposed they don't have access to the NK rare earths....

Have you not been paying attention?