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November 17 2012

China’s advantage erodes in a key area: rare earth minerals


Two years after China limited its exports of “rare earth minerals,” unnerving developed countries that depended on them for industrial uses, production is expanding at sites outside China.

And as new sources of rare earth minerals have appeared, that has meant new jobs — including in the tiny town of China Grove, N.C., where Japan’s Hitachi Metals is planning to produce high-tech magnets from rare earth minerals.

The Hitachi plant and its 70 new manufacturing jobs are a small example of how market forces can sometimes undercut China’s trade clout.

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