Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/16/2014 -- Rare earth is a set of 17 chemical elements while the price of medium and heavy rare earth elements is over 10 times higher than that of light rare earth elements because of the scarcity.
China began to massively export rare earth at low prices in the 1990s due to the low cost, including labor cost and environmental cost, which ceased the mining of rare earth in most countries in the world. Its reserves of rare earth once took 71.1% of the global reserves while the percentage declined to 23% in 2012. However, over 80% of the global RE is supplied by China.
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There are three major production bases built around three major RE mines in China, including the Northern China RE production base built around the mixed RE mine in Baotou represented by INNER MONGOLIA BAOTOU STEEL RARE-EARTH HI-TECH CO. and Gansu Rare Earth New Material Limited-Liability Company, the medium and heavy RE production base built around the Southern China ionic mine represented by Guangzhou Pearl River Smelter and JAMR, and the bastnaesite production base built around the bastnaesite mine in Mianning, Sichuan.
China launched the license system of RE export quotas in 1998. In recent years, Chinese government starts to cut the amount of export enterprises and quotas as well as the annual yield of rare earth. The gross export quota of rare earth set by Ministry of Commerce of China for domestic enterprises declined from 50,000 tons in 2005 to 34,000 tons in 2008. It continues the downward trend and fell to approximately 21,590 tons in 2014. Decrease in the export quota results in increasing amount of smuggling. It is estimated that the annual export volume of rare earth will exceed 20,000 tons in China.
On March 26, 2014, WTO ruled that the export management measures of RE, tungsten and molybdenum in China, including the tariff, quota and restrictions on enterprises, violated relevant provisions. The plaintiffs are the U.S., EU and Japan. The verdict stated that the export restrictions of rare earth failed to protect natural resources and be implemented with restrictions on production and consumption. The export quota system may be abolished in China.
The annual production capacity of RE separation enterprises exceeds 0.3 million tons in China while the annual demand is lower than 0.15 million tons, of which 0.1 million tons is from domestic market. The global consumption of rare earth is estimated to reach 0.3 million tons in 2020 due to rapid development of the high-tech industry. The production volume of rare-earth magnet, luminescent materials, hydrogen storage materials and polishing materials in China ranks the first in the world. Meanwhile, the rare earth industry is expected to grow as demand of downstream consumers increases.
Through this report, the readers can acquire the following content:
- Supply and Demand Status of Rare Earth
- Global Trade Status of Rare Earth
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