China hikes 2022 rare earth quota by 25% on rising demand

Excavators dig rare earth on a field of Jiangxi Copper’s Sichuan branch in Chengdu. (Image by 62|Shutterstock)

China raised its annual rare earth mining output quota by a quarter to a fresh record high in the wake of rising global demand.

China is the world’s dominant producer of rare earths, a group of 17 minerals used in everything from consumer electronics to military equipment. The quotas are closely watched as a supply indicator and are typically issued twice a year.

The full-year rare earth mining output quota has been set at 210,000 tonnes, up 25% from 168,000 tonnes in 2021.

That includes a 100,800 tonnes quota granted for the first batch issued in January and a 109,200 tonnes quota in a second batch announced on Wednesday by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and the Ministry of Natural Resources said in a joint statement. 

China has raised the annual quota for five years in a row.

The smelting and separation of rare earth quota were set at 202,000 tonnes, up 24.7% from 162,000 tonnes a year earlier.

That includes 97,200 tonnes in the first batch and 104,800 t in the second batch.

(By Siyi Liu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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