Setting Up Rare Earth Supply System in UK is Tricky
- Category: tungsten‘s News
- Published on Monday, 07 June 2021 20:47
With regard to the promotion of industrial policy in the UK, there has been anxiety that critical materials such as rare earths are highly dependent on imports. The British government is eager to find a solution-establishing a rare earth supply system. To get rid of its dependence on China's rare earths, Britain is stepping up the localization and diversification of related supply chains.
According to British media reports, Britain is developing and establishing a nationwide rare earth reserve. At the same time, officials from the British Department of Commerce are also discussing how to ensure the availability of critical raw materials such as lithium and cobalt. British Telecom quoted government sources as saying that Britain can build global inventory reserves to avoid shortages, and establish domestic resources in potential lithium mines in the Cornwall area, or use diplomatic networks to cooperate with foreign private businesses to ensure that related supplies would not be interrupted.
In addition, the British company HyProMag is considering recovering rare earth magnets from old computer hard drives that would otherwise be thrown into the scrap pile. The project uses hydrogen to recover magnets and is a process pioneered by Rex Harris, one of the company's founding directors and an emeritus professor at the University of Birmingham. The project is not only an environmental experiment but also part of the UK's efforts to establish its rare earth supply system.
The industry believes that it is not easy for Britain to establish a rare earth supply chain, promote the localization of the rare earth supply chain and self-sufficiency in key raw materials. Cost, access to raw materials, and environmental issues may become the biggest obstacles to the establishment of a rare earth supply system. From an economic point of view, while establishing a rare earth separation and purification plant in Britain, it also needs to make a budget for the annual loss of subsidies.
Britain wants to get rid of its dependence on China's rare earths, and even join forces with the United States and Australia to deal with China, but they will find that doing so has no substantive effect. Because China's rare earth processing capacity is 5 times that of other countries in the world combined. If the UK is to reach the level of rare earth processing in China, it must take several years to build rare earth processing plants.
Britain wants to establish a rare earth supply chain independent of China. But they may never have thought about why China is called a global rare earth manufacturing powerhouse and is at the top of the global rare earth supply chain. For the moment, the United States, Australia and the European Union want to replace China's position in the global supply chain, which is an impossible task.
The UK wants to reduce its dependence on China's rare earths by building a rare earth supply system, which will have a certain impact on my country's rare earth industry in the short term, but in the long run, reducing my country's total exports of rare earths is conducive to the adjustment of the domestic rare earth industry.
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