China intends to keep a vice-like grip on its rare earths resources, its first ever white paper on the sector indicated earlier this month.
Rare earths are a group of 17 metals used increasingly in high-tech products such as electric car batteries, smartphones and wind turbines—so there is huge demand for them.
China currently accounts for more than 90% of the world's rare earth supplies.
But it has just 23% of global reserves and said depletion of its reserves has accelerated after fifty years of 'excessive exploitation'.
It recently slapped an export quota on rare earths to stop what it says is excessive mining, most of which is carried out illegally.
The white paper points to further tightening of the regulations governing the mining, smelting and separating of rare earths.
There will be also be a clamp-down on illegal mining and smuggling and a push for mergers and reorganisation to develop large-scale, highly efficient, and clean production enterprises.
Gao Yunhu, an official with Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said that China's intensified regulations are intended to protect the environment, preserve valuable resources and promote the sustainable development of the sector.
The U.S., Japan and the European Union have already complained to the World Trade Organisation over the recent imposition of quotas.
China recently urged 'other countries to actively develop their domestic rare earth resources, as well as expand and diversify supplies for the international market".
There are about 400 companies exploring for rare earths outside of China, though only a handful are listed on the world’s stock markets. . .View Full Article