China cuts rare earth exports for 2011

The government has set its first round of 2011 rare earth export quotas at 14,446 tonnes which is 11 per cent less than the previous year, official media here said.

The quota was down 11.4 per cent year on year compared with the 16,304 tonnes in the first round of last year. A total of 31 companies, including domestic businesses and overseas-funded enterprises, were accredited as qualified rare earth exporters for 2011, according to a statement from the Commerce Ministry.

China's rare earth export quotas stood at 30,300 tonnes for 2010, a decline of nearly 40 percent from 2009.

However in the first three quarters of this year China had already surpassed the quotas, with 32,200 tonnes of rare earths exported.

With around 30 per cent of the world's rare earth reserves, China supplies 90 per cent of global demand.

Commerce ministry spokesman Yao Jian said earlier this month that China's decision to cut rare earth exploration, production and exports was made amid the government's efforts to promote sustainable development and protect the environment.

Yao also said the country would act responsibly in international cooperation in rare earth exploration and ensuring the basic demands for the minerals are met.

China also refuted US allegations that it is restricting the exports of rare earths flouting WTO rules.

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