Monopoly on cheap?
The author didn't state something here...
Reuters "Lanthanum, used in rechargeable batteries for hybrid autos and in night-vision goggles, rocketed 26-fold from $5.15 a kg in January 2010 to a peak of $140 in June 2011. Although it has slid to $20.50, the price is still well above earlier lows."
Even though they don't have a monopoly on light rares, they managed to make 28x what they were for a while, and the market is still 4x over what it was. Assuming the base mining costs are the same, they have compressed many years of profits in to one. Also, it is very likely the mines from the Americas are going to produce a more expensive product simply because of environmental regulations. What may cause the bigger problem is all the new mines coming on line and crashing the prices, then going out of business, meanwhile the rare earth mines in China fund themselves off the heavy rares they produce.
"Analyst Edward Otto at Cormark Securities forecasts the long-term price of cerium oxide to settle eventually at 50 cents a kg and lanthanum oxide at $1.00 per kg, down from $20.50/kg currently."