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China cracks down on illegal mining of rare earth minerals which are essential for Green Technology

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China which possesses 97% of the total rare earth minerals required by the new age Green Industry has further tightened its grip by cracking down on illegal mining.These rare earth mineral are essential for the growth of the Green Industry finding diversified uses in  the making of electric vehicles ,semiconductors,lasers,optoelectronics, batteries ,wind turbines and thin film solar.They are also essential to the manufacture of some defense technologies like missile guidance.Having a monopoly over these resources will give a strategic leg up to a country’s green companies in the future

China plans crackdown on illegal rare earth mining – Reuters

China plans to launch a six-month crackdown on illegal exploration and mining of strategic rare earth and other minerals in June, the Ministry of Land and Resources said on its website.

The campaign will shut down unlicensed exploration and mining operations by demolishing construction, confiscating equipment and products, closing shafts and cutting off water, power and explosives supplies, said Ji Wenlin, director of ministry’s general office, in a conference transcript published on the ministry’s website (

China tightening its exports affecting Japanese automakers

China has set up an export quota of rare mineral exports  since 2000 to hoard these scarce resources for future use just like the US does for oil.Japan which has large rare mineral requirements by its automakers Honda and Toyota depends on these illegal mining exports for making electric vehicles like the Prius.Cracking down on these illegal exports will have a repercussions in the electic vehicle ambitions of its automakers.

Japan’s increasingly frantic efforts to lead the world in green technology have put it on a collision course with the ambitions of China and dragged both government and industry into the murky realm of large-scale mineral smuggling.

The robust international trade in illegally mined, quota-busting rare-earth metals highlights China’s near monopoly on the raw materials for environmental technology – a 95 per cent dominance of world supply that is likely to become more widely noticed as China tightens its grip.

World Demand for Rare Earth Minerals Exploding

Demand for rare earth mineral has explosed from 40000 tons in 2000 to 130000 tons now due to a range of new applications mostly related to the green industry and defence industry ( missile guidance).This is expected to increase to 200000 tons by 2014 creating a major supply shortage which  China hopes to exploit through its monopoly and export quotas.There are few other places in US (California) and Australia which have the potential for  producing large quantities but development has been hampered by environmental regulations and financing difficulties


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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