Veiled threats from Beijing that ‘rare earth’ metals could soon become a beachhead in its ongoing trade war with the Trump administration have seen the prices of local mining companies skyrocket as China’s propaganda machine gathers pace.
China enjoys a strangle-hold on the 17 elements in the rare earth family and accounts for around 90% of global processing. Trace amounts of rare earths are required for everything from iPhones and electric cars to weapons systems and oil refining.
China’s President Xi Jinping and his top trade negotiator made a public visit to JL MAG Rare-Earth, a major processing company in Jiangxi province, last month. Since then, its shares have gained over 190%. Shares in similar Chinese companies have also boomed with China Minmetals up 52% and China Northern rare Earth up 34% over the same period.