Official: Global rare earth supply faces structural problems

15:53, November 29, 2010      

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The problem of world rare earth supply should be addressed through global cooperation, Secretary-General of the State Council Ma Kai said.

Ma Kai said at the Fourth Hamburg Summit, Europe's largest Sino-European business conference, that the world faces no inadequate supply of rare earth resources, however, structural problems exist.

"China's rare earth deposits account for a little higher than 36 percents, but its rare earth export covers more than 90 percent of global rare earth export volume," he said, adding that many countries with abundant rare earth resources refuse to exploit and produce related products.

Regarding Western countries' doubts about China's policies on rare earth exports, Ma said that it is rational and necessary for China to strengthen regulation on rare earth exploitation, production and export in order to protect the environment and achieve sustainable development.

Furthermore, China abided by WTO rules when it tightened controls on domestic rare earth products manufacturing, Ma said.

The use of rare earth in modern technology has increased dramatically over the past years. Rare earth elements are now incorporated into many technological devices, including superconductors, high-flux rare-earth magnets and hybrid car components.

China reduced its domestic rare earth production by 31 percent and export quota by 29 percent in 2009. Commerce Ministry spokesman Yao Jian said recently that China's rare earth exploitation in 2010 will be 25 percent lower than 2009, adding that the rare earth export policies next year will be consistent with this year.

By People's Daily Online

(Editor:祁澍文)

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