Letter: West must exploit its own rare earths deposits

Mark Cutifani, retiring chief executive of Anglo-American, recently named The Rare Metals War (2018) by Guillaume Pitron as his favourite book.

As a member of Eurometaux, the European non-ferrous metals association, Anglo co-commissioned a recent report from Belgium’s Katholieke Universiteit Leuven encouraging the EU to address Pitron’s warning that rare metal scarcity (and limitations on recyclability) will stall a meaningful clean energy transition (“Europe urged to bridge supply gap in metals for clean energy”, Report, April 27).

Pitron argues that western countries must “commit to the battle of the mines” by rare metal mining within their own borders. Pitron calls France a “slumbering mining giant” and the writer also comments on the US’s historic rare earth mining dominance.

But this is, as he says, as much a moral crisis as an economic and security one. The west should share

its resources to improve supply and face the environmental mining challenges that it currently expects others to bear.

Rupert Boswall
Staplehurst, Kent, UK

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