Policies push forward rare earth industry
New generation technologies applied to strategically important resource
China will take a raft of policy measures to push forward the high-quality development of the rare earth industry, according to a decision made at the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Qiang on Friday.
Noting that rare earths are strategically important mineral resources, attendees at the meeting stressed that it is imperative to coordinate the exploration, development and utilization of rare earth resources, as well as their standardized management, and bring together the strengths of enterprises, universities, research institutes and end-users.
It was noted at the meeting that proactive efforts should be made toward the development and application of new-generation mining, beneficiation and smelting technologies that are green and efficient, and stronger steps taken to make breakthroughs in high-end rare earth new materials and expedite their industrialization.
Illegal mining and other acts to undermine the environment will be clamped down on resolutely, the meeting stressed, calling for dedicated efforts to promote the high-end, intelligent and green development of the rare earth industry.
Over recent years in China, disorderly mining gave way to rational regulation, and bulk exports of rare earths are gradually being replaced by increased imports, according to a report released by China AVIC Securities.
China’s status has changed from being the largest exporter of rare earth resources to becoming a country that consumes rare earths, with the rapid increase in demand for wind power, new energy vehicles, and other energy-saving and emission-reduction technologies driving this shift, said the report.
China has raised its rare-earth metal quota for 2023 by 14 percent over last year to 240,000 metric tons, according to government data in September.
Meanwhile, data from the United States Geological Survey showed that as of 2022, the world’s total reserves of rare earths were estimated to be 130 million tons, of which China possessed 44 million tons, or 33.8 percent.
The meeting also discussed the draft revision of the Frontier Health and Quarantine Law of the People’s Republic of China.
It was noted at the meeting that given China’s numerous ports of entry and frequent exchanges of people and goods, the modification and enhancement of pertinent legislation will help maintain a robust quarantine defense at the ports of entry and better safeguard public health and security. Well-calibrated measures will be exercised in line with the law to better meet the fast-rising needs of people-to-people exchanges.