Beijing tightens reins on global rare earths supply

Mining quotas increased for materials used in technology products

Beijing tightens reins on global rare earth supply
Earthy Matters: A mine in Baiyun Ebo, Inner Mongolia, China is the site of almost half the world's rare earth production. Photo: NASA

(ATF) China will continue to control the global supply of rare earths after the government increased mining of the key materials used in products from electric car batteries to smartphones.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said Wednesday that they would increase production of the 17 minerals to 140,000 tonnes this year from 120,000 tonnes last year. 

The total amount of rare earth and tungsten mines in 2020 will operate in accordance with the relevant regulations on the management of specific minerals for protective mining, the ministries said.

The national “total control index” for tungsten concentrate mining was also increased, to 105,000 tonnes.

According to the requirements, the total amount control index of rare earth mining should be centrally issued to six mining enterprises under the rare earth group, and the two departments will strengthen verification, inspection, supervision and management, they said. 

Data show that the total control index of rare earth mining in China was 120,000 tons in 2018.

Rare earth is a product strictly controlled by the state, and no unit or individual may produce without indicators or exceeding indicators, said the announcement.

  • With reporting by agencies

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