Rare earth minerals are an essential ingredient of countless high-tech and electronics products. And China holds a near monopoly on the worldwide supply.
There are a total of 17 rare earth minerals used in products ranging from smartphones and big-screen TVs to aircraft engines, medical equipment and military hardware. They aren’t literally “rare,” but the high cost of mining them, coupled with potentially disastrous environmental consequences, makes them unfeasible for production in most of the world. But not China: the country currently commands a market share in rare earth minerals of around 80%. Growing trade tensions between China and the U.S. have many companies worried about whether they’ll continue to have access to a steady supply of these essential elements. On this episode, we discuss the situation with Koray Köse, senior director with Gartner. He offers advice on where companies can turn for alternative supplies, which countries might be gearing up to challenge China’s dominance in this crucial area, and the long-term strategies that supply chains should be pursuing today to protect against future disruptions. Hosted by Bob Bowman, Editor-in-Chief of SupplyChainBrain.