Examining the globalized supply and demand for rare earth metals

Dr Jewellord (Jojo) T. Nem Singh

Dr Jewellord (Jojo) T. Nem Singh will join the International Institute of Social Studies on 1 February 2021 with a European Research Council Starting Grant examining the globalized supply and demand for rare earths, from mining, processing, manufacturing, use and recycling, with a particular focus on rare earth mining as a tool for economic development.

The new global political economy is increasingly defined by critical raw materials, of which rare earths elements are the most significant. Dr Nem Singh’s research will examine the globalized supply and demand for rare earths, from mining, processing, manufacturing, use and recycling, with a particular focus on rare earth mining as a tool for economic development.

His research project, Green Industrial Policy in the Age of Rare Metals: A transregional comparison of growth strategies in rare earth mining (GRIP-ARM), will examine how rare earth producers (China, Brazil and Kazakhstan) are formulating their globalization strategies through industrial policy. The project will subsequently examine the responses of rare earth consuming firms and states in the European Union and Japan to reduce their supply vulnerability and support their transition to a greener political economy.

By the end of the 5-year research project, Dr Nem Singh aims to have answered the following questions:

  1. How do state capacity, business power and organizational structure of domestic markets shape the design of industrial policies in resource-rich countries?
  2. What explains the success of some countries in generating linkages between resource extraction and manufacturing, and what accounts for their failure?
  3. How effective are the responses of importing countries and their manufacturing industries in securing a stable supply while reducing the socio-environmental costs of extraction?  

Dr Nem Singh’s research is one of the first comparative studies on rare earths mining and economic development which brings political science perspectives in conversation with natural resource geography and international political economy.