China not to sacrifice environment for rare earth development

Updated: 2012-06-20 11:17


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BEIJING - China, the world's top rare earth producer, said Wednesday that it will not develop its rare earth industry at the expense of the environment.

The country will coordinate environmental protection with the industry development of rare earths, a group of 17 metals that are vital for an array of high-tech products ranging from smart phones, wind turbines, electric car batteries to missiles, said a white paper entitled "Situation and Policies of China's Rare Earth Industry."

The white paper, the first one China issued on rare earths, said China's rare earth reserves account for 23 percent of the world's total, but the country has been supplying more than 90 percent of the world's demand.

The country will continue the "protective exploitation" of the resources and adopt stricter standards for environmental protection, the white paper said.

Mining and production of the metals have taken a toll on China's environment. To control environmental damage and protect the non-renewable resources, the country has announced many measures, including production caps, export quotas, stricter emission standards and higher resource taxes.