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China Tightens Rare-Earth Controls

by Jean-François Tremblay
October 3, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 40

China’s Ministry of Land & Resources plans to increase its oversight of rare-earth metals production. In a Sept. 26 statement, the ministry said it will collaborate with governments in Inner Mongolia, Shandong, and Sichuan provinces to crack down on unlicensed rare-earth mines. The central and local governments will also implement measures to ensure that state-owned enterprises play a greater role in rare-earths production. According to the ministry, one of the program’s main goals is to prevent production of rare-earth metals beyond government-set quotas. China produces most of the world’s rare earths. Prices have surged worldwide in the past two years as the government has progressively crimped output (C&EN, Aug. 30, 2010, page 9).

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