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China cuts rare earth mining rights

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’€™.

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