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Rare earth output halt remains to help prices


08:26, December 26, 2012

CHINA'S largest rare earths producer yesterday announced that it will continue to halt some of its production for a third month to help stabilize tumbling prices.

The Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-earth (Group) Hi-tech Co will continue to suspend rare earth roasting and smelting separation operations, which began on October 23, for another month, the company said in a statement filed to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

"The rare earths market recovered a bit in the past two months but did not improve fundamentally," the firm said.

The burst of a speculative bubble in China's rare earths industry and the softening economy has led to prices of rare earths, a group of 17 metals used in products ranging from smartphones to hybrid cars, plunging since last year.

The price of praseodymium-neodymium oxide, used to make ceramics and magnetic materials, has slid to around 300,000 yuan (US$47,695) to 320,000 yuan per ton, down from 1.4 million yuan per ton at the highest point last year.

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