Rare Earth Mania 1.0 took place in 2010-2011 when China allowed rare earth prices to soar 10-20 times as part of a strategy to shift into China the manufacturing of components that required rare earths. The supply squeeze created demand destruction as end-users invested in substitution technologies and thrifting which is making more efficient use of a scarce input. On top of that the WTO ruled that China's supply restriction policies such as export quotas were illegal, and rare earth prices collapsed below where they started in 2009. The dozens of rare earth projects held by juniors that underwent extensive exploration and feasibility demonstration work during Rare Earth Mania 1.0 ended up worthless. Rare earth users enjoyed a dual bounty in the form of cheap prices and more efficient usage of rare earths. This holiday, however, may be coming to an end. Globalized free trade is under attack by the United States through protectionist trade policies intended to "Make America Great Again". China's ambition to rival the United States as an economic, technology and military super-power is now seen as the biggest threat by both American political parties. Nothing less than China's utter subjugation to America's will and the shelving of its ambition is being demanded. Such a humiliating capitulation by China is unlikely. A likelier outcome is a fragmentation of the global economy into smaller trading zones, which is quite doable, though will be very painful to businesses and consumers along the way. Most raw materials have a geographically diversified supply with varying degrees of profitability. Rare earths are one group which comes mainly from China due to cost advantages rooted in natural abundance and China's willingness to serve as the rest of the world's emission cost dumping toilet. Rare earth deposits outside China need much higher prices to be worth mining. Except for those in Russia most known deposits are owned by resource juniors. Rare Earth Mania 2.0 would erupt if it became clear that Chinese rare earths are no longer going to be available to the global economy through official or illegal channels. China is completely within its rights to clamp down on polluting or illegal production, and to start conserving domestic resources for national security reasons. It is reasonable to expect a decline in global supply from its estimated 150,000 tonnes without China turning rare earth supply into a geopolitical weapon in a context where the rules based world trade order has been demolished by Trump's MAGA policies. This is a longer term story than that of Rare Earth Mania 1.0. The KRO Rare Earth Resource Center and its collection of rare earth related juniors is designed to help track the Rare Earth Mania 2.0 story.
Grassroots (1) or Target Drilling (2)
Flagship Project (1-2)
Discovery Delineation (3) or Infill/Metallurgy (4)
Flagship Project (3-4)
PEA (5) or PFS (6)
Flagship Project (5-6)
Feasibility/Permitting (7) or Construction (8)
Flagship Project (7-8)
Flagship Project (9)
Current News - Flagship Project
Positive Mkt Signal
Negative Mkt Signal
Only flagship projects are tagged if there is a news release or a market signal. Click on marker for a snapshot of the company-project with links to free and KRO member only resources. Works best in Google Chrome.