[LINK] China: Rare earth export cuts protect environment
kim at holburn.net
Tue Aug 31 15:48:13 EST 2010
> BEIJING Aug 29 (Reuters) - China's decision to slash export quotas
> of rare earth elements was a necessary step to protect the country's
> environment, commerce minister Chen Deming said following criticism
> from Japanese officials.
> "Mass extraction of rare earth will cause great damage to the
> environment and that's why China has tightened controls over rare
> earth production, exploration and trade," Chen was quoted by state
> news agency Xinhua as saying on Saturday.
> China has been steadily reducing export quotas since 2005 for rare
> earth elements, which consist of 17 metals used in crucial new green
> technologies like hybrid cars, wind turbines and superconductors, as
> well as in missile guidance systems and mobile phones.
> Overseas buyers have expressed concern about China's policies to
> restrict rare earth exports, which have driven up global prices, but
> Chen said China had no choice and its own market would also suffer
> as a consequence.
> Rare earths are in increasingly short supply as world demand surges,
> with industry officials predicting a global shortfall of 30,000 to
> 50,000 tonnes by 2012.
> China invested heavily in rare earth extraction technology in the
> 1990s and now controls more than 95 percent of recoverable reserves,
> mostly in the vast northern region of Inner Mongolia.
> It has sought to strengthen its control over the global market,
> urging its biggest producer, the Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare
> Earth 6000111.SS to build strategic stockpiles.
> China's leading rare earth miners are also discussing setting a
> unified pricing mechanism in order to boost China's global pricing
> power. (Reporting by David Stanway, Editing by Ron Popeski)
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