According to reports, due to concerns about China’s restrictions on the export of rare earth magnets, the United States intends to increase the output of rare earth magnets used in military weapons by developing and purchasing equipment. At the same time, it is also looking for better ways to purchase rare earth magnets. Why? There are mainly the following five reasons:
1. Rare earth magnets are essential materials for the manufacture of many military weapons.
According to reports, at least 36 types of weapons in the United States use rare earth magnets imported from China, including F-35 “Lightning II” fighters, F-22 Raptor fighters, DDG-51 destroyers, “Bradley” armored vehicles and AIM-9X “Sidewinder” missiles, and so on. This means that if the United States does not have enough stocks of rare earth magnets, the national defense will be affected.
2. At present, the consumption of rare earths in the United States, including rare earth magnets, is highly dependent on China.
More than 90% of the world’s rare earth permanent magnet supply comes from China, and the United States also needs to import nearly 70% of rare earth magnets from China. For example, a Citigroup report showed that China’s total magnet exports reached 1.7 billion U.S. dollars, of which, of the approximately 395 million U.S. imports, 257 million U.S. dollars came from China.
3. At present, the United States does not have enough R&D capabilities to manufacture rare earth permanent magnets.
For example, the United States does not have the ability to produce high-temperature and corrosion-resistant samarium-cobalt rare-earth permanent magnets, which can be used to make rare-earth permanent magnets for precision-guided missiles, smart bombs, and military aircraft. However, China has this technology.
4. At present, China’s rare earth processing capacity is five times the total rare earth processing capacity of other regions in the world.
This means that it will take at least a few years to build a processing plant that can match China’s rare earth production capacity. Although Japan and Germany are the main magnet factories outside China, the two countries also rely on the import of rare earths from China. Citigroup analysts also pointed out that although there are rare earth mines outside of China, the processing is inseparable from China.
5. MP Materials, the only rare earth company in the United States, has a Chinese background.
The point is that even the rare earths that MP Materials dug from the Mountain Pass mine in California will also be sent to China for processing.
Thank you for reading our article and we hope it can help you better understand why is the USA worried about China’s restrictions on the export of rare earth magnets. If you want to learn more about rare earth magnets, we would like to advise you to visit Stanford Magnets for more information.
As a leading magnet supplier across the world, Stanford Magnets has been involved in R&D, manufacturing, and sales of magnets since the 1990s. It provides customers with high-quality permanent magnets like SmCo magnets, neodymium magnets, AlNiCo magnets, and ferrite magnets (ceramic magnets) at a very competitive price.