With rare earths in short supply the world over, Chancellor Angela Merkel has jumped in to help German industry search for more. The hope is to secure supplies well into the future — and break the Chinese monopoly.
The German government also hopes to reach a raw materials agreement with Kazakhstan by the end of this year. Kazakh Ambassador Nurlan Onzhanov was invited to visit the parliamentary group of the CDU and its sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) last Wednesday. Since word has gotten around about his country’s wealth of manganese, tungsten, copper and molybdenum, the ambassador has become a popular man. Other countries the German government hopes to partner with include South Africa, Peru and Chile. There, the sought-after resource is lithium, crucial for the production of the latest-model electric car batteries.