The #Californian Rare Earths Mine Caught Between #Trump and #China


The only operating rare earths mine in the U.S. – and once the world’s biggest — is caught up in the crossfire of the #Trump administration’s trade war with #China.

Rare earths, an esoteric group of materials used in everything from #Tesla Inc. automobiles to high-tech military equipment, were dropped this week from the U.S.’s final $200 billion catalog of tariffs on Chinese goods, but China didn’t reciprocate on its own hit list.

“The ten-percent tariffs provide a real challenge, and the prospect of 25 percent is daunting,” James Litinsky, chief executive officer of JHL Capital Group LLC, the majority owner of the Mountain Pass consortium, said by email. “We believe that we can compete without tariffs, and we don’t understand why there would be tariffs on us, when there are no tariffs on #Chinese producers.”

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