Thursday, November 11, 2010

Finding Rare Earths by Varun Sood MINT

nov 11th, 2010

there are problems with rare-earth mining: it is highly toxic to the environment.

also, let us note that the dmk's pet project, setu samudram, would have jeopardized these very same beach sands in kerala and southern tamil nadu -- the setu protects these beaches from erosion and tsunamis. perhaps the far-sighted hans -- looking to further kill competition, note how indian rare earths ltd in kerala had to shut down because of predatory pricing by hans -- bribed the dmk to push setu samudram. 

then again, maybe not. setu samudram was a potential dredging cash cow for the dmk; they surely have more than made up for it with loot from 2g spectrum. 

america's motto, as expressed by george kennan some years ago: "america has 8% of the world's population and enjoys 50% of the world's resources. our foreign policy is intended to keep it that way".
dmk probably says: "dmk are 2% of india's population; but we intend to exploit 50% of india's resources through our ability to put 35 mps into parliament. especially when there are those lovely tamperable EVMs. thank you, thank you, ECI."

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sanjeevnayyar

Dear All,
Thanks to the Chinese Japanese recent stand off and consequent delayed exports of rare earths to Japan by China, India's ability to produce rare earths has come into focus. This detailed article by Varun Sood gives u a good perspective. If we can focus on producing rare earth in high quantities it could give us a strategic edge in ties with Japan and the U.S., more the former.
Rgds sanjeev

Mumbai: These 17 elements are critical to many industries of the future—from smart phones to hybrid cars to solar panels. There is a worldwide scramble to get hold of rare earths. Prices have soared.

The problem that worries much of the world: China currently accounts for an overwhelming 97% of global production, and it has not been shy of using this dominance as a bargaining chip against other countries.

"Rare earths are vital future resources and we won't like any country to have a monopoly," said science and technology minister Prithviraj Chavan at the sidelines of a conference in Mumbai to celebrate the 101st birth anniversary of physicist Homi Bhabha.

The growing international tensions over rare earth supplies has led to the first signs of a new national strategy—to ramp up domestic production, to consider inviting foreign companies to participate in joint ventures (JVs) with public sector units (PSUs) as minority partners and to strike cooperation deals with other governments which are worried about China's clout in the rare earths game.

India currently has a little over 2% share of global output of rare earths, but that still leaves it the second largest producer after China. To close the gap, the government is firming up plans to triple rare earths production from 2,700 tonnes to 7,700 tonnes by the end of 2011, according to R.N. Patra, chairman of Indian Rare Earths Ltd (IREL), a state-run firm set up in 1950.

Also See | The Rare Earth Story (Graphic) by US Geological Survey

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