Central Asia Program Series Economic Papers Publications

Rare Earth Metals in Central Asia and Mongolia: A Promising but Paradoxical Agenda

Central Asia Economic Paper No. 1, August 2012

By Sebastien Peyrouse

Japan, Germany, South Korea and the United States are eyeing Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia in the hopes of circumventing China’s growing economic pull in the rare earths arena.

Kazakhstan officially announced its intention to increase the production of rare earth ore to 1,500 tons per year, and works closely with the Federation of German Industries.

Several Japanese and South Korean companies have shown interest in Kyrgyz rare earths.

If the exploitation of rare earths appears as a new financial Eldorado for those countries that have them, it raises many environmental issues.

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