Fed up with Chinese control, many countries are ramping up their own rare earth mining operations. That's good news for anyone looking for thorium, because guess where thorium resides?
Answer: It typically occurs in monazite, a mineral that contains 15 different rare earth elements. Companies that mine monazite for rare earths end up with thorium as a byproduct. At the moment this is a burden - there's little they can do with the thorium, yet regulators force them to spend money to keep it safely tucked away because it's radioactive, albeit low level radiation.
In fact, plenty of mined thorium already exists. French chemicals company Rhodia is believed to be holding a substantial stockpile.
Like rare earth minerals, thorium is not rare. It exists in ample quantities on most continents. India possesses a particularly abundant supply.
Thorium does not always coincide with rare earths, but its common occurrence within rare earth-rich monazite will give that much more impetus to countries outside of China to gear up their own rare earth mining industry.