There is a race in the West to secure their supply for a list of critical metals, such as rare earths. These are resources that are essential for high tech applications, including in defence, as well as a carbon-free future. Yet China dominates the market for quite a few of these resources.
How did China come to dominate, and just why is the fight heating up? Kartik Kuna has to explore every step of the supply chain to find out, starting from a newly operational rare earths mine in Western Australia. Why did it take over 10 years for them to come into operation?
Kartik also looks at how the supply chain eventually spans the globe, as he finds himself in Malaysia and China. Both are involved in downstream processing for rare earths. But why is Malaysia protesting against the existence of this plant?
And as China announces a ban on the export of gallium and germanium, Kartik heads out to Vietnam to understand why this valuable resource of gallium is left untapped.
Narrator: Kartik Kuna
Episodes: 3 x 60 minutes
Production year: 2023