Some while ago, precious rare earths important in the production of microchips, electronics and electric motors were almost exclusively sourced in China. In recent years, several nations have picked up production again while new players entered the market, diversifying it at least to some degree.
Yet, China was still responsible for 60 percent of global production in 2021, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. But since many countries are wary of depending on China, especially when it comes to technology products, nations with rare earth deposits are likely to exploit them further. The U.S., however, is still shipping its rare earths to China for processing, but is looking to add domestic processing facilities using funds of the bipartisan infrastructure deal.
China also has the largest know deposits of rare earths, but Brazil, Vietnam and Russia also have a lot of (largely) untapped potential in the sector. The United States and Australia ramped up production of rare earths after 2010 and most recently, Myanmar and Thailand started to mine considerable amounts. As seen in our chart, the U.S. had in the past mined and produced rare earths for military uses and re-entered the market as rare earths were getting more important as a part of the implementation of crucial technologies.