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Rare earth materials ‘new battlefield’

The date of: 2023-02-01
viewed: 1


“As the name suggests, these elements are rarely found around the world,” Dönmez said on Jan. 28 at an event titled “Energy Goals in Century of Türkiye” in Istanbul.

“There are 17 rare elements in the periodic table, and we found seven-eight of them in Beylikova [in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir]. It is the second greatest discovery in the world.”

Rare earth elements will be more important in the future, the minister added.

“In the coming period, we will see an unnamed struggle, a war in the field of rare earth elements, just as the energy wars were experienced in the past,” he said.

“There are 45 kilograms of rare elements in an F-35 fighter jet. If you don’t put in that 45 kilograms, which is used in different components and parts, that plane is no longer the F-35. It cannot fly, and for such elements, the world is dependent on certain source countries.”

Dönmez said that the foundation of a facility to process the rare materials will be laid in a very short time.

“We will use these elements for our own national needs and then to sell them if there are export opportunities,” he said

“When we produce value-added products, we carry the value and gains to be obtained from this sector much higher. We are now trying to limit ore sales as much as possible. We want to sell jewelry instead of ore. In other words, we want to produce more value-added products. As a matter of fact, as a result of these intense efforts, we broke the record of our republic’s history wih $6.5 billion of mineral exports in 2022.”

Dönmez also highlighted the importance of independence in the energy sector. “Breaking the chain of energy dependency depends on our success, especially in oil and natural gas exploration and discovery,” he said.

“We started an intensive exploration and drilling activity on land and sea. As a matter of fact, we have greatly increased our fleet. We had not had a single drill ship and only one seismic ship. Today, we have four drilling vessels, which are equipped with the latest technologies in the world. We also have two very modern seismic research vessels.”

Rare earth elements, also called rare earth minerals, are essential for the strong magnets necessary for wind turbines. They also show up in smartphones, computer displays and LED light bulbs.

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