China boosts its mining quota for first batch of rare earths

China President Xi Jinping’s speech at UN General Assembly (Youtube Screenshot: PBS News Hour)

China increased its mining quota for the first batch of rare earths by 27% from a year earlier, with demand for the strategic minerals unabated despite the pandemic.

The new quota for the first batch is 84,000 tonnes, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement on Friday. That compared with a cap of 66,000 tonnes for last year’s first batch.

Another 81,000 tonnes of the minerals used in everything from electric vehicles to military hardware will be supplied to key producers including China Northern Rare Earth Group High-tech Co. for rare earth smelting and separation, according to the ministry.

China typically issues two batches of rare earth quotas a year. Last year’s total reached a record 140,000 tonnes even as the coronavirus pandemic slashed global trade.

The nation is also looking at banning sales of the technology needed to refine and purify rare earths to countries or companies deemed as a threat to state security, a person familiar with the matter said.


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