China lifts Export Quota of Rare Earths image

China, the world’s biggest supplier of rare earths, announced Thursday additional export quotas for rareearth minerals totaling 10,680 tons.

Of the additional 10,680 metric tonnes, 9,490 metric tonnes were light rare earths, while medium and heavy rare earths were 1,190 metric tonnes, a statement on the MOC Web site said.

China is set to release additional annual quotas during the summer. The ministry said in December that this year’s overall quotas would likely match last year’s total allocation of 30,184 tonnes.

China has curbed output and exports since 2009, when quotas were set at 50,145 tons, to conserve resources and protect the environment. However, the United States, European Union and Japan lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization in March, saying China was choking off exports of rare earths to unfairly benefit domestic industries.

Rare earth is the indispensable mineral resources used to produce new vehicles, high-tech electronic products. In spite of having just about one third of the world’s total reserves, China supplies more than 90 percent of the world total rare earth output.

In other unrelated news, in response to the skyrocketing prices of rare earth metals, Honda, in partnership with the Japan Metals & Chemicals Co., Ltd., has established a world first mass-production process at a recycling plant to recycle this precious resource from Honda vehicles.