"EU, U.S. Grapple With Crunch In Rare Earth Supplies"

"The European Union and the United States said on Tuesday they were pressing for solutions to concerns China may be exploiting its stranglehold on rare earth metals, crucial in the making of everything from portable phones to wind turbines.

Officials and industry executives in Berlin and Washington warned of severe repercussions from a scarcity of the minerals with magnetic, luminescent and other properties which go into products such as hybrid cars, solar panels and windmills.

The near monopoly China has in producing 97 percent of the world's supply of rare earths has been well-known among industrial users for years, but came under the international spotlight after reports Beijing halted shipments to Japan over a territorial dispute with Tokyo last month.

A U.S. Department of Energy official said she was not aware of any U.S. renewable energy companies experiencing disruptions in rare earth metal shipments from China, but said firms were worried about shortages developing."

Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck and Paul Eckert report for Reuters October 27, 2010.

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"No China Rare Earth Embargo To U.S. And EU: Molycorp CEO" (Reuters)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010