China – China, currently the supplier of 90% of the world’s rare earth metals, is cutting mining rights on these materials by nearly half in order to allow the industry to ‘consolidate’.
Chen Zhanheng, Deputy Secretary-General of the Association of China Rare Earth Industry, explains: ‘Reducing mining rights helps streamline rare earth development.’ He has also said that ‘illegal mining is a bigger issue that the government needs to tackle’ – a comment seen by some as an indication that another shift in rare earth tactics may be on its way.
Rich in heavy rare earth deposits, China established an 11-state managed mining zone in 2011 spanning roughly 2500 square kilometres. Shortly, a market access standard for rare earth mining will be released. Meanwhile, it has been indicated that qualified enterprises should achieve annual revenues of at least Yuan 1 billion (US$ 156.8 million), adds the Economic Information Daily.
In March, the USA, Japan and the EU filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization, claiming that China’s limits on rare earth exports was causing ‘harmful disruptions and distortions in supply chains’.