According to Kallanish, China – the world’s largest producer of rare earths – could extend its market dominance if it gets access to the huge resources now in the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan. This is expected to increase global geopolitical tension and challenges to the energy transition.
China produced 140,000 metric tons of rare earths in 2020, which makes up 52.3% of global production. Afghanistan, meanwhile, has large deposits of copper, lithium and rare-earth minerals. Kallanish reported that Beijing is ready for “friendly cooperation with Afghanistan” after the country was overtaken by Taliban fighters.