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The Negative Side Of Rare Earth Metals

1312 words - 5 pages

The United States has depended on third world countries for many years to supply them with many of the everyday items they use, but it is seldom thought of all the health conditions people who work in this environment endure, what would happen if these third world countries stopped supplying them, or what would happen if they took advantage of all the power they have given them. In the article “Rare Earth Plant Ready, But in a Glut,” by Keith Bradsher it is mentioned the rare earth metals this company will be producing can be found in many cell phones, flat screen televisions, computer hard drives, and wind turbines that are used in the United States today. If this company is not opened it will cut down a fifth of the rare earth metal being mined and it will cause the cost of these rare earth metals to increase.
There are many benefits to the refinery mentioned in “Rare Earth Plant Ready, But in a Glut” being opened, it would help meet the demand of the metals and it would open jobs for people who need them. This new company would help bring more money into their economy, which can open the door for more businesses to come to their area. This business can have a positive effect on the economy but a negative effect on the environment and health conditions.
Some of the disadvantages to opening this new refinery in Malaysia are the health of citizen and workers being put in to danger for minimum wage. It puts their environment in danger of radioactive waste and pollution that can possibly cause cancer. Many people of Malaysia have expressed their concerns about bringing this new refinery to their neighborhood, but they have all been ignored.
Cerium, lanthanum, and neodymium are some of the important rare earth metals used in the modern technology used around the world. Since many of these metals are use in electronics and hybrid cars around the world it has become a great concern what should be done in reaction to recent shortages. With the conflict of the cost of rare earth metals increasing and the shortage of these rare earth metals, this topic has raised many arguments on how the situation should be handled. The scarcity of rare earth could lead to major problems for companies around the world, and possibly lead to higher prices for consumers. Even though China is currently controlling over 90 percent of this market, many of the rare earth metals can be mined in the United States.
According to James Areddy, writer for The Wall Street Journal “China is building strategic reserves in rare-earth metals, an effort that could give Beijing increased power to influence global prices and supplies in a sector it already dominates.” Because China has recently tightened its exports with a new quota policy mining companies around the world are responding by coming up with plans to increase production of rare earth metals. United States Representative Mike Coffman called China "an unreliable trade partner" in rare-earth minerals...

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