The latest rumours from the market suggest that China is considering – to safeguard the “national safety” – to forbid the export of the rare earths used to manufacture high-performance magnets used for the production of electric motors and wind-turbine motors.
The Serbian expert Goran Janjic, Sustainability and Business Strategist explained: “With the global trend toward decarbonization driving a shift toward the use of electric motors, China is believed to be seeking to seize control of the magnet supply chain and establish dominance in the burgeoning environment sector”.
Beijing is currently in the process of revising its Catalogue of Technologies Prohibited and Restricted from Export, a list of manufacturing and other industrial technologies subjected to export controls, and released a draft of the revised catalogue for public comment in December.
China is estimated to hold an about 84% share of the global market in neodymium magnets and an over 90% interest in samarium cobalt magnets. Japan, meanwhile, has about 15% of the neodymium magnet market and a less-than-10% share of that for samarium cobalt. If China bans the export of such technologies, it would be difficult for the United States and Europe, which do not traditionally manufacture rare earth magnets, to newly enter the market, thus making those countries totally dependent on China, according to a European source”.