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China Strives for Supply Independence for Rare Earths

October 2021 | Market


As Reuters reported, China has increased its annual production of rare earths by 20%. The quota is now 168,000 tonnes for 2021. In the previous year it was 140,000 tons and in 2016 100,000 tons. This is the fourth year in a row that the republic has increased its quota, which has now reached record levels.

Several reasons for this can be identified. Due to the Covid pandemic, the borders with the main supplier Myanmar are still closed. The demand for rare earths, also within China, is growing steadily. However, according to metal miners, China strives for the same goals as Europe and the US: greater independence from global supply chains. Although China, as is always emphasized, is the main supplier of rare earths, large parts of the world’s mining take place outside of China. The extracted material is eventually brought to China for refining. China therefore needs the import of ores in order to be able to process and export rare earths.


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