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China is believed to control 90% of global supplies of rare earth metals. In maintaining its monopoly on rare earth metals for the production of microchips, electronics, and electric motors, Beijing launched a mineral hunting satellite to explore the planet for new resources. 

The satellite, called “Ziyuan-1 02E” or “five-meter optical satellite 02,” was launched on Sunday that can take pictures of the ground with a resolution of five meters, according to the China National Space Administration.

Ziyuan-1 is equipped with infrared, near-infrared, and hyperspectral sensors that will help China’s geological environment engineers identify places around the world rich in rare earth minerals. 

China is believed to control up to 90% of global supplies of rare earth metals and is responsible for almost two-thirds of global production in 2019. 

Some say China’s control over the global market for rare earths is diminishing, but the truth is this is only slightly true (read: “China Creates New State-Owned Mining Giant To Tighten Control Of Rare Earth Supplies”). 

Infographic: China's Rare Earth Monopoly is Diminishing | Statista

While the US and Australia ramp up the production of rare earths, China dominates the production of this space and continues to search for more minerals worldwide now using a high-tech satellite. 

For more on rare earth minerals, visit The Market Ear content, exclusively on ZH premium, click here


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