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China puts Quotas on Production of tungsten,iron,rare earth,antimony and molybdenum in National Interest

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China has recently put increased scrutiny and control over the mining,smelting and export of important minerals like tungsten and rare earth oxides.Note mining in China often takes place illegaly without any regard to environment in quest for a quick buck.Japan which is the largest importer of rare earth oxides from China gets most of its demand met through illegal mining.However China has cracked down on this practise as it regards these minerals like tungsten,iron,rare earth,antimony and molybdenum as important for national goals.China has severely curtailed the exports of rare earth exports leading to a sharp rise in rare earth prices and stocks of rare earth companies.This has sparked concern in developed countries and blocks like EU,Japan and USA which has taken the case to the WTO.

China also used the rare exports as a blunt foreign policy weapon in its recent spat with Japan over a sea incident.This caused much concern in Japan whose hitech industries like Electric Vehicles,Optics,Electronics are heavily dependent on these crucial raw materials.China has decided to stop issuing new licenses for mining of these minerals though the production quota has been raised by 5-15% (exports are a different matter).The mining will be heavily regulated with only specific companies allowed to mine tungsten,iron,rare earth,antimony and molybdenum.MIIT,NRDC and the Ministry of Land and Resources will track the production and exports of these minerals.

China caps rare metals output, raises mandatory quota

China, world’s largest exporter of rare earth metals has raised the mandatory quota for the production and smelting of five minerals this year, said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

The quota, set by the MIIT, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Land and Resources, allocates the maximum quantity of the production and smelting of tungsten, tin, antimony, molybdenum and rare earth ores in 25 provinces or autonomous regions, the ministry said in a statement today. Only those enterprises that meet the requirements of national industrial and management policies can get the quota from local governments’ supervisory departments and “no extra quota or production beyond the limit will be allowed,”it said. According to it, the output control target for tungsten concentrates was 87,000 tonnes this year, up 8.75 per cent from last year’s 80,000 tonnes. The output quota for tin ores rose 12.3 per cent to 73,000 tonnes from 65,000 tonnes in 2010. The maximum output limit for antimony concentrates was 105,000 tonnes, compared to 100,000 tonnes last year. The production quota for molybdenum concentrates was 200,000 tonnes, up from last year’s 185,000 tonnes.


Abhishek Shah

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