Other countries and companies are seeking solutions independent of the Chinese supply to fulfil future needs. South Korea says it will co-operate with Myanmar in developing new mineral resources, including rare earths, and US miner Molycorp, formerly a subsidiary of Chevron, is gearing up to start construction at its Mountain Pass, California, rare earths site. It has done deals with Japanese corporations Sumitomo and Hitachi that will give them access to offtake from next year.

Japan produces around 10 000 tonnes of neodymium magnets annually, around half of which are supplied by Hitachi.
Another Japanese corporation, Toyota Tsusho, has announced plans to set up a manufacturing plant to process rare earth oxides in the eastern Indian state of Orissa in co-operation with Shin-Etsu Chemical Company and India’s state-owned Indian Rare Earths Ltd, part of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India.