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Christopher Grove: China’s Stranglehold is Loosening

Tom welcomes back Christopher Grove, President of Commerce Resources. Chris explains how four of seventeen rare earth metals are essential for electric motors and generators. Ultimately, most electric cars make use of these magnets in their motors.

China had managed to corner the market on rare earth metals with the help of government subsidies. Countries have been looking to find alternative sources as China has demonstrated its willingness to use rare earths for political leverage.

Demand has doubled in the past decade for rare earths. There are few new producers but several companies in the west are trying to bring new supplies to the market. Rare earths are challenging to both find and extract.

The demand for new electric vehicles remains particularly strong in Europe where bans on older ICE vehicles are coming. Therefore, demand is not going away and could become a serious challenge. Prices have fluctuated mostly upwards in the last decade and who knows what the next decade may bring.

Many concerned companies are seeking to reduce their reliance on these metals from China.

Lastly, Chris discusses the types of geology that tend to host these minerals and why few types of host rocks are economically viable.

Time Stamp References:
0:00 – Introduction
0:47 – Rare Earth Elements
4:33 – Alternatives to China
10:50 – Rare Earth Demand
13:12 – Supply & Demand Shocks
20:14 – Supply Gap Predictions
22:18 – Western Production
29:44 – Geology & Mineralogy
33:32 – Environmental Concerns
35:52 – Concluding Thoughts

Talking Points From This Episode

  • Importance and applications for rare earth elements.
  • China’s role and the Western developments in the rare earth space.
  • The difficulties of finding and producing economically viable rare earth metals.

Guest Links:

Suggested Links:
Rare Earth Observer:
Adamas Intelligence:

Mr. Christopher Grove is President and Director of Commerce Resources since September 2014. Previously, he worked as Corporate Communications for Commerce since 2004 and has significant contacts within the financial communities in North America and Europe. Mr. Grove joined the Commerce Resource board in 2012 and has been active in representing the company abroad.

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