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Canada’s Rare Earths Could Crush China’s Dominance

Commentary “The Middle East has oil. China has rare earths,” Chinese paramount leader Deng Xiaoping presciently said in 1992, as he weaponized rare earths for their strategic advantages. The United States and the rest of the West are today utterly dependent on China’s rare earths—a term for 17 metals and compounds that tend to be so thinly dispersed in terrain around the world that mining them becomes expensive. But Canada not only has oil, it has rare earths, too, an estimated 15 million tonnes of them. If just 1 percent of those rare earths could be brought to market each year, they would exceed China’s entire annual production and far exceed China’s total exports. Even a fraction of that 1 percent would suffice to remove China’s stranglehold over the West, create some semblance of a functioning market in rare earths, and enhance the West’s security. The extent of China’s stranglehold—it …

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