The rare earth metals industry-related exchange traded fund popped Monday, following a 60 Minutes highlight on the growing demand for rare earth minerals in a digital age.

The Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (NYSEArca: REMX), which tracks the performance of companies that mine, refine and manufacture rare or strategic metals, jumped 3.2% Monday.

The rare earths group was advancing Monday after Constantine Karayannopoulos, chairman of Molycorp (NYSE: MCP) appeared on 60 Minutes Sunday to discuss the prevalence of rare earth metals in electronics, fiberoptics and other technologies that pervade modern day life, reports Dashiell Bennett for Bloomberg.

MCP surged 32.6% Monday, trading near $0.48 per share. The spotlight provided a well-timed reversal in the company’s share after falling off 59.1% year-to-date – MCP is still off 99.4% from its all time high of $77.5 per share back in April, 2011. Just last week, Molycorp stated it “may not be able to continue as a going concern,” unless the company restructured debt. The producer revealed that falling prices and production slowdowns have diminished its ability to meet obligations.

Rare earth producers have been weakening after China announced cuts to its export quotas, forcing other countries to build up their own projects.

In 2010, China, the world’s largest producer of rare earths minerals, cut back exports as part of a political dispute with Japan, pushing up prices on rare earths by 40% from the preceding year and raising concern over supply. The announcement helped push up Molycorp and other producers to new highs in the following year. [Supply Risk No Longer Supporting Rare Earth ETF]

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