China controls 55% of rare-earth production capacity and 85% of refining output and is making noises about pushing prices higher.
The prices of praseodymium and neodymium used to make permanent magnets Required for speakers have doubled.
The price of Neodymium oxide – used in motors and wind turbines – has risen 21.1% this year;
The price of Holmium, used in magnets and magnetostrictive alloys for sensors and actuators, has risen nearly 50%.
Political stand-offs between Beijing and Washington are likely to make things worse for the time being until the USA, Australia and other countries can bring new rare-earth mining and refining facilities into production.
All of which, of course, makes eyes turn to Afghanistan and its allegedly $1-2 trillion worth of rare earth minerals