China to Officially Launch Rare Earth Association April 8 in Beijing
Source: Mineweb, Dorothy Kosich (4/2/12)
"More than 100 Chinese rare earths exploration, mining and processing companies have reportedly been invited by the central government to attend the official launch of China's rare earth association."
With more than 100 members, the association will be formally launched in Beijing on April 8, "according to people with direct knowledge of the situation who declined to be named."
Several rare earth exploration and processing companies told China Daily that they have received notifications to attend the launch ceremony this week.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will supervise the association, NBD reported.
The association will provide production guidelines, market research and facilitate communication between companies and the government. The newspaper said the association will influence China's rare earth import and export quotas.
China Daily reported the association will also encourage mergers and acquisitions in rare earths.
NBD said the association will sponsor workshops for development of more production and business administration skills.
Gan Yong and Ma Jongzhang will be appointed chairman and secretary-general respectively for the new formal association. A source told NBD that the association has been functioning for four or five years but was never officially launched.
"We are facing challenges from Australian and U.S. rivals and we need an organization like this to protect ourselves, while we can also deliver our requirements, opinions and thoughts to the government in return for the government's help," said Wang Caifeng, identified as a convener for the association.
In an article for Technology Metals Research, rare earths consultant Jack Lifton said, "This announcement is really about the heavy rare earth elements extracted today from the so-called ionic-clay deposits in south China, by the method of heap leaching."
"The Chinese are clearly worried about their domestic security of supply of the have rare earths," Lifton advised. "They are, as the official article. . states, going to be proactive in solving that problem. These movements by the Chinese were set in motion long before anyone in the U.S. government finally learned how to spell WTO. The Chinese will not be deterred from their long-term goal," Lifton concluded.
China accounts for about 97% of the world production of strategically important minerals. The U.S. the European Union and Japan filed a joint complaint to the World Trade Organization against China for its allegedly unfair limits on rare earth exports.
However, official state news agency Xinhua quotes Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei, who said China rare earths exports policy does not target any specific country.