China sets caps for rare earths exploration

Updated: 2013-09-12 23:20


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BEIJING - The Ministry of Land and Resources announced on Thursday the maximum amount of rare earths for the exploration has been set at 93,800 metric tons for 2013.

The cap for the exploration of ion-absorbed-type rare earth ores is set at 17,900 metric tons while that for light rare earth ores is set at 75,900 metric tons, the ministry said in a statement.

The country has also set maximum quota for the exploration of tungsten concentrate ores at 89,000 tons this year. For antimony ore exploration, the cap is set at 98,000 tons, according to the statement.

The caps are set in accordance with a national plan that aims to save resources and protect the environment. The plan, released by the ministry, extends a seven-year period that began in 2008.

Rare earths are a group of 17 elements that are widely used in high-tech products ranging from flat-screen televisions to lasers and hybrid cars.

China is the world's largest rare earth supplier even though its holds only 23 percent of global reserves. Decades of excessive exploitation have damaged the environment.

To curb environmental degradation and protect resources, China has also set export quotas, stricter emissions standards as well as high resource taxes in recent years.

Last month, the Ministry of Commerce announced a 15,500-metric-ton quota in the second rare earth export quantity for 2013 after it set the first rare earth export quota at 15,501 metric ton.