A homeowner in Waukesha for 20 years, Steve is president of the Waukesha Dog Parks Organization and enjoys motorcycling, fishing and staying on top of politics.
The first time that I heard of "Rare Earth Magnets" was referring to the tiny, super strong magnets used in computer hard drives that store data. Most every computer has them. They are made from "Rare Earth" minerals. The key to my blog is the word RARE.
High efficiency electric motors use magnets. Today's high efficiency furnaces often use blower motors with such magnets in them. Because an electric motor comes in different efficiencies, it stands to reason that hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius and any other such cars or trucks use the most efficient motor possible, along with batteries.
These rare earth magnets use minerals and metals named:
In high school chemistry I had to remember ALL the substances and these were not on the chart back then in the dark ages when Penzoil actually was pumped from Pennsylvania. I bet most of you never heard of them either, so it is easy to believe that they are indeed rare!
So, where do these rare metals come from? China produces 90% of them. They are what Saudi Arabia is to oil and what the USA is to Coal. Ahem, we have LOTS of coal. Not the topic but I have to put that fact in there, especially because of the soon to be sold Chevy Volt, which uses a lot of these heavy metals, will be recharged by electricity generated by COAL power plants. Prius's and the like still burn good ole imported oil. Just not as much as your Ford Excursion does.
Since China has discovered that capitalism is better than socialism, they are being accused of hoarding the supply of these rare metals. That drives the price of them up and makes your Toyota Prius more expense. It also makes us even more indebted to them.
So where does the other 10% of these metals come from? They are spread over the world. We probably have lots of them. But in order to get them, you have to MINE them. You see, the current government administration doesn't mind China tearing the surface of their country up to get these metals, but they don't want any part of mining on American soil. It would be much worse than sinking some 8" holes in the ground to get all that petroleum just waiting to fuel our existing cars.
Oh, did I mention that WIND TURBINES need these metals too?
Question: How do you get the Chinese to drop to the ground, laughing hysterically?
Answer: Ask them about Cap and Trade.