Rare earth minerals : China explores cutting off supply to the EU and US

How important are Rare Earth Minerals to the EU electronics industry.This from a Bloomberg Market Drivers update

“China is exploring whether it can hurt U.S. defence contractors by limiting supplies of rare earth minerals, that are critical to the industry, the Financial Times reported. Industry executives said government officials had asked them how badly firms in the U.S. and Europe would be affected if China restricted rare earth exports during a bilateral dispute, the FT reported, citing people it didn’t identify involved in the consultation. Rare earths are used in everything from smartphones to fighter jets. China controls most of the world’s mining and has an even tighter hold on processing.”

Rare earth mineralsThe answer to the question is “hugely”

There is approximately 10 million tonnes of WEEE Generated in The EU every year of which about 3.5 million tonnes are recovered for processing and recovery. The rest disappears into the Global “grey market” or “sent for repair and reuse” or just shipped to the lowest cost of disposal location, without any consideration of the environmental consequences and bypassing the EU WEEE Directive.

It is possible to recover rare earth minerals from WEEE but it costs money and as usual, as we know from our twenty five years of experience in recycling WEEE, environmental considerations or, in the case of rare earth metals, considering the long term financial consequences to the wider community, go out the window when organisations are confronted with “Having to Pay” for proper disposal.

If China chokes off  rare earth minerals, the life blood of the electronics industry, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

The same thing applies to all the Copper lost in the 6.5 million tonnes of WEEE that disappears from the EU every year.

Electronic Recycling and our processing partners have the ability to provide the solution for the recovery of rare earth minerals from WEEE

Windows 7 support ends on January 14th 2020

Windows 7 Support

Windows 7 support will end on January 14th, 2020. PCs with Windows 7 operating systems will still work after support has ended, but they will become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses because there will be no further software updates, including security updates, from Microsoft. Even if dangerous security risks are found in Windows 7, Microsoft won’t issue security updates.

Microsoft strongly recommends that you move to a new PC running Windows 10 sometime before January 14th 2020 to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available.

Obviously, you can run antivirus and malware software etc. but this is never as good as an official security update from Microsoft and security programs will also begin withdrawing support for older versions of Windows

New Hardware May Not Work
New hardware components and peripherals might not work on a windows 7 machine as manufacturers will not create hardware drivers for old, out-of-date operating systems.

Software Companies Support
Although it may not happen immediately, when Microsoft ends Windows 7 support that’s also a signal to other software companies who will also stop supporting Windows 7.

While continuing to use windows 7 in a home environment may be worth the risk for a while, in a business environment Data Security and specifically GDPR responsibilities dictate that an early upgrading to a Win10 environment is a prudent decision.


Once you have upgraded to new hardware Electronic Recycling can help with recycling your old equipment and specifically we can look after data destruction by wiping or shredding the hard drives.  See our Data Destruction page

Electronic Recycling specialise in Computer Recycling, ICT and other Electronic Office Equipment disposal as well as providing solutions for the management of all types of Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment, ( WEEE ),with expert knowledge and 20 years of experience, recycling Electronic Waste since 1996.