A little-known Chinese company has bought up a vast stockpile of metals…
By Mark Burton and Jack Farchy
A little-known Chinese company has bought up a vast stockpile of metals that are indispensable to the electronics industry, including enough indium to satisfy six years of global demand of the material found in flat-screen televisions and cellphones the world over.
Vital Materials Co.’s $600 million swoop to acquire the stockpile in a government auction is the culmination of a wild tale of speculation and market manipulation in a small but strategically important corner of the metals markets.
Almost everything bought by Vital Materials is on the list of minerals classified as “critical” by the U.S. two years ago as part of President Donald Trump’s vow to reduce America’s foreign dependence. While many of the metals are found in small quantities at mines around the world, China has come to dominate in transforming them into high-purity products needed in advanced manufacturing. …
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