The only unique earth metals-manufacturing mine in the U.S. is dealing with short-term refining difficulties as the nation expects to lower its dependence on China for the materials owing to the trade war. China controls the mining and refining of rare earth minerals, which are important in the production of iPhones, rechargeable batteries, and military weapons. James Litinsky—Co-chairman of MP Materials of the Mountain Pass mine—stated to CNBC, “We are it. If we cannot be economic, there is no anticipation for the U.S. industry.” Reportedly, California-based Mountain Pass ships almost 50,000 Tons of unusual earth concentrate to China every year for processing, as per to a Reuters report.
Litinsky said, “There is no other refining facility in the world excluding China.” Reportedly, China has slapped a 25% tariff on unusual earth imports throughout the trade war, making the dealer of the Mountain Pass mine the only US company impacted by this specific retaliation. In the meantime, China intimidated to stop shipping rare earth mineral to the U.S., following President Donald Trump blacklisted Chinese telecommunication titan Huawei. Conjectures about payback first arise when Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a visit to rare earth mining and processing facilities in a domestic tour last week. According to Reuters, the Pentagon in recent time submitted a report to Congress on the unique earth market and how to find substitute sources from China.
On a similar note, recently, an investor warned that restricting rare earth metals by China would be a “major escalation” of a trade war. Ray Dalio—Co-founder of the biggest hedge fund globally—stated that a measure by the Chinese to restrain the export and production of rare earth metals to the U.S. will simply constitute to a “major boom” of the protracted trade battle amid the two largest economies worldwide.
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