China has set the first mining quotas for rare earths for this year, Reuters news agency and others reported. The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said it had increased the quota for mining by 19 percent compared with last year to 120,000 metric tons. The quota for rare earth smelting and separation is 115,000 tons, also 18 percent higher than last year’s level of 97,200 tons, it said.
The increase is mainly due to China’s own growing demand for neodymium magnets, especially in the wake of the “rapid development” of the electric vehicle sector, industry analyst Wu Chenhui told China’s Global Times.
Production quotas are typically set twice a year. Compared with last year, officials delayed the announcement this time, which experts said showed the government was weighing market demand after the economy recovered, according to the Global Times.
The People’s Republic exported 5.6 percent less rare earths in the first two months of this year compared to the same period last year. However, exports increased slightly by 1.85 percent compared to the November-December period.
Photo: iStock/Alfio Manciagli