China increases 2021 rare earth quotas by 20% to new highs

Workers transport earth containing rare earth elements for export at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China on October 31, 2010. REUTERS / Stringer

September 30 (Reuters) – China on Thursday raised its annual rare earth production quotas by 20% year-on-year to their highest levels on record, as it seeks to increase supply for manufacturers.

A statement from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said mining production of rare earths in 2021 was set at 168,000 tonnes, up from 140,000 last year.

The 2021 quota for smelting and separation – or the transformation of rare earths into a form usable by manufacturers – is 162,000 tonnes, also up 20% over the year, according to the statement released jointly with the Ministry of Natural resources.

China is the world’s largest producer of rare earths, a prized group of 17 minerals used in consumer electronics and military equipment.

It usually announces the rare earth quotas twice a year and the annual quotas were published exceptionally late.

Quotas for the first half of 2021 were set in February at 84,000 tonnes for mining and 81,000 tonnes for smelting and separation. Full-year quotas imply the same levels for the second semester.

Quotas are allocated to six state-owned enterprises: China Minmetals Rare Earth Co (000831.SZ), Chinalco Rare Earth & Metals Co, Guangdong Rising Nonferrous, China Northern Rare Earth Group (600111.SS), China Southern Rare Earth Group and Tungsten de Xiamen (600549.SS).

The Minmetals unit signaled a potential consolidation of some of the so-called “Big Six” last week when it said its parent company was discussing restructuring with Chinalco and the Ganzhou Rare Earth Center government. Read more

The table below shows the rare earth quotas for companies for 2021 in tonnes.

Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Evans

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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