China tightens management of rare earths with new regulation

Beijing, China. Credit: IQRemix via Flickr

China tightened the management of its rare earths industry with the approval of the first comprehensive regulation governing the mining, metal smelting and circulation of the mineral.

Rare earths belong to the country and no organization or individual are allowed to claim them, the State Council said in a statement on its website. The state will take charge of protective mining of the resource, it said. The new rules take effect on Oct. 1.

Government agencies will have control over the total amount of rare-earth mining and smelting, and will establish a product traceability system, it added. The regulation also stated penalties for illegal activities involving the mineral’s output.

China has long had a near-monopoly on supply of refined materials such as rare earths, lithium and graphite, which are vital to high-tech manufacturing and the green energy transition. The country accounts for about 70% of the world’s production of rare earths. It has been consolidating its mining assets and established China Rare Earth Group Co. in 2021 through the merger of several key producers.


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