The Potentials of Scientific and Industrial Collaborations in the Field of REE through China‘s Belt and Road Initiative


  • George Barakos Institute of Mining and Special Civil Engineering, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Freiberg
  • Helmut Mischo Institute of Mining and Special Civil Engineering, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Freiberg



rare earth elements, REE supply chain, raw materials, scientific collaboration


Within the framework of trade deals and infrastructure investments, China also wants to build a "belt of scientific cooperation" with countries and international organisations involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. This could create an opportunity for involvement of several European countries that have so far treated China‘s initiative with skepticism about the coherence and practicality of the project. A crucial issue that concerns both China and the European Union in the recent years is the establishment of an undisrupted supply of critical raw materials to satisfy the consumption demands of the modern high-tech world that we live in. Among the listed critical raw materials are the rare earth elements (REE). Accordingly, the development of an extended and sustainable REE supply chain is a significant research field in which both sides could collaborate and benefit from. It is crucial for the involved countries to utilise their advantages, work together and share knowledge to tackle technical, economic and environmental issues that govern the global rare earth industry. Hence, in this paper the possibilities of a potential cooperation are investigated in the context of collaborative research projects, academic networking, workshops and training for young scientists. The aim is to seek, find and bridge any gaps that exist between the two sides with a view to strong academic and industrial collaborations.