COVID-19’s impact on supply chains has brought attention to the United States’ reliance on China and other countries for manufacturing critical items using Rare Earth Elements (REE).
REE materials are needed to make hybrid car batteries, computer touch screens, and special magnets used in the defense of the nation. The issue arose from environmental regulations that begin in the 1960s to the 1980s. As costs rose to make products using REE in the United States, manufacturing shifted to other countries.
- Triple Bottom line (3 pillars): sustainability in business (Apr 8, 2014, Sustainability Illustrated)
- The Battle Over Rare Earth Metals (Oct 16, 2019, CNBC Television)
This post is based on the Supply Chain Brain article, It’s Time to Reconsider the Math on Rare Earth Elements, by Shubho Chatterjee and Joe Carson, May 19, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: Peter Sobolev/Shutterstock
1. What are options that the United States could consider to reshore REE manufacturing capability?
Guidance: REE manufacturing left the United States in part due to Triple Bottom Line considerations several decades ago. This is a good general discussion question. Students may argue Continue reading