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How China keeps a grip on the rare earth metal industry — Quartz


A group of 17 elements make up a little-known group called rare earth metals. They are notoriously tricky to extract, which is unfortunate since they’re key components in smartphones, batteries, motors, and wind turbines, and essential to a clean-energy future. China has a near monopoly on the mining and processing of rare earth metals, but as demand for them rises, other countries are looking to get into the game.

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Kira Bindrim is the host of the Quartz Obsession podcast. She is an executive editor who works on global newsroom coverage and email products. She is obsessed with reality TV.

Mary Hui is a reporter based in Hong Kong, where she covers geopolitics and business. She is obsessed with running long hours on trails while thinking about life in authoritarian states.

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