Introduction—Rare Earths: The Dirty War (05:15)
Rare earths are mineral elements are used in almost all modern technology. China is currently the only significant producer of rare earths, giving them complete monopoly. This has had significant economic and political repercussions. (Credits)
History of Rare Earths War (08:32)
When rare earth production halted in the U.S., China won the battle for the mines, but did not yet have the technology for processing. Vivian Wu explains the country's plan to consolidate the rare earth industry. Ex-Magnequench employees Terry Luna and Randy Brutout describe how China bought out American magnet companies for their secrets.
Casualties of Rare Earths War (04:31)
AChina bought out and abandoned American rare earth magnet companies; the communities they supported suffer. Indiana's unemployment and insecurity the results of globalization. China uses export quotas to control the international price of rare earths.
China's Reliance on the West (04:18)
To maintain growth, the Chinese economy needs wealthy markets to purchase its products. In September 2011, China sought to soften the rare earth war by hosting an international conference. In Baotou, the rare earths industry has dramatically improved the local standard of living.
Rare Earth Mines and Pollution (06:14)
In contrast to the opulence of the city center, the communities of Baotou's rare earth miners are poverty-stricken and under-developed. A Dalahai villager explains the impact of mine and factory pollution. Wu laments the environmental cost of China's rare earth monopoly.
Malaysia's Rare Earth Woes (07:37)
For 15 years, rare earths were mined and refined at Bukit Merah by Mitsubishi. Nearing depletion of its natural resources, China has begun to look overseas for more material. Malaysia signed contracts to host rare earth refinement.
Racing for Rare Earths (06:45)
Near the Malaysian village of Kuantan, Australian rare earths mining company Lynas is building the world's largest refinery. U.S. Public Auditor Belva Martin explains the project to renovate the abandoned Mountain Pass mine. Economies worldwide scramble for rare earth prospects.
Recovering Rare Earths (08:15)
To satisfy Japan's need for rare earths during China's embargo, the government established a smartphone recycling program. The U.S. began similar programs to recycle larger electronic waste. Lauren Roman investigates recyclers that return the waste to China.
Credits: Rare Earths: The Dirty War (00:34)
Credits: Rare Earths: The Dirty War
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