Rare earths are not as rare as the name suggests, but can be hard to mine. And if you look at production figures it's easy to see what it would mean for the tech industry around the world if China decided to throttle production, or would just be a bit selective about who it sells to. China is by far the biggest source of those rare elements. It supplies nearly 120,000 tonnes per year, three quarters of the global production. Australia comes a distant second with just 20,000 tonnes, followed by the US. The US used to be a big producer, but now digs only 15,000 tonnes out of the ground each year.
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