David Abraham co-authored an article in the Conversation with Dylan McFarlane and Robert Pell about China's advantage in rare metals:
Just as oil and gas has raised the stature of countries like Saudi Arabia in the age of oil, countries that dominate the production of metals are set to benefit similarly in the rare metal age.
Rare metals, which are produced in limited amounts and often in just a few countries, play critical roles in the next generation of products: they store power, provide luminescence and make products more efficient. Tesla vehicles, iPhones, Boeing 787s and even night vision goggles rely on the specific properties of a host of difficult-to-pronounce obscure metals.
Because of the global explosion in high-tech wizardry, people rely on the production of more metals on the periodic table than ever before. And because of the high number of rare metals it takes to produce green products, it’s no understatement to say that the fate of the planet is tied to these materials.
Over the Olympic season, countries rank their international stature on medal counts achieved during the games as a proxy for a country’s geopolitical stature. But the “real metal count” has a greater impact on the fate of nations.