This must be new information for most of the people that rare earth metals are used in almost everything. From electric vehicles to smartphones and x-rays to guided-missiles, rare earth metals are used in various technologies. There is a group of 17 rare earth metals that is super important for several industries. These rare earth metal deposits are found all around the world, but most of these refining and mining metals are found in China. Now we know the reason why China dominates rare earth metals' export in the world. The infographic tracks the exports of China in 2019 and how it dominates the supply chain globally.
In 2019, nearly 88% of China's rare earth metals were exported to five states only, and those five are amongst the top economic and technological powerhouses of the world. The countries include Japan, getting the largest share of rare earth metal Cerium (36%), followed by the USA in second place with a 33.4% import share of Lanthanum. Japan and the USA collectively account for over two-thirds of rare metals export by China.
Netherlands, South Korea, and Italy get a comparatively lesser percent of import, i.e., 9.6%, 5.4%, and 3.5% respectively. The Netherlands and South Korea demanded Lanthanum, whereas Italy required Cerium. The rest of the world accounts for 12.1% of import of the rare earth metal Cerium by China.
In terms of volume, Lanthanum used in smartphones and hybrid vehicles was the country's largest export; the second was Cerium. However, the most expensive rare metal was Terbium, exported for $57.9 million for 115 metric tons.
Since 80% of rare earth metals are found in China, any rare metal discovered in other parts of the world is sent to China for detailed inspection and final processing.
Infographic by: Visualcapitalist.com