The export of rare earths from China decreased significantly in July. As reported by Reuters news agency, citing data from customs authorities, 14.7 percent less of these critical minerals were exported than in June this year. Compared to the same month last year, there was an eight percent decline.
Meanwhile, industry service Shanghai Metals Market (SMM) also reported figures on the import of rare earth ores into China for further processing. It said there was a 15 percent year-on-year increase in light rare earths in the first half of 2022. The imported source material comes from the USA, mined by MP Materials in California. In contrast, the decline in imports of medium and heavy rare earths reported by SMM, which China sources mainly from neighboring Myanmar, is very significant at 80 percent.
As industrial demand increases, supply is becoming tighter, SMM said. China also would not be able to absorb demand through domestic mining of raw materials, as production quotas for this group of elements have not been raised in recent years.