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Chinese Government Will Strike Illegal Rare Earth Exploitation Which Causes Prices To Increase

Highlighted: Research Report of Chinese Rare Earth Industry, 2012

CRIREPORT - By the end of July 2013, it is said that MIIT will joint many ministries to conduct national regulation work concerning rare earths. At present, the regulation program has entered the stage that ministries are negotiating with each other. The rare-earth regulation work will mainly engage in punishing illegal mining and processing of rare earths. However, the striking range and strength will exceed all previous activities and the time will be confirmed according to the consultation result. (research report)

After China MIIT put forward the plan to conduct 'A New Round of Rare-earths regulation' in May 2013, Ganzhou city of Jiangxi province drafted "Programs on Order Rectification and Special Regulatory Action of Ganzhou Rare Earths Industry". From June 14 to June 29, Dingnan county of Ganzhou launched "Looking Back" activity of rare earths exploitation and special operating order rectification work in first half of 2013; Quannan country, Ganzhou's major producing area of rare earths, announcing to conduct four-month order regulation work of rare earths industry from July 10.(research report)

In the process of specialized regulation, some private businessmen and trade stockists were punished. It is said that Ganzhou's strike on illegal rare earths is a part of the rare-earths regulation activity. Moreover, the rare-earths regulation activity will promote the experience in regulating rare earths across the country. (research report)

Influenced by rare-earths regulation, prices of rare earths begun to boom from the beginning of July 2013. On July 20, 2013, prices of light rare earth oxide and heavy rare earth oxide increased by 5.36% and 9.38% respectively. Meanwhile, the price of dysprosium oxide increased by 17.07% and the growth rate has doubled. In early June, the lowest quoted price of dysprosium oxide was 1.25 million CNY/ton-1.35 million CNY/ton; on July 18, the quoted price of dysprosium oxide was 1.6 million CNY/ton-1.75 million CNY/ton, increasing by over 25%; on July 28, the quoted price of dysprosium oxide was 2.47 million CNY/ton, increasing by 77%.(research report)

In addition, some insiders pointed out that the specialized regulation made the market stock of praseodymium and neodymium decline to rather low level recently, so once the downstream enterprises added the stock, prices of praseodymium and neodymium are expected to increase. (research report)

China is one of the major producing areas of rare earths in the world. Over 70% of global heavy rare earth is distributed in China. With the characteristics of little reserve, huge insufficiency and little substitutability, heavy rare earth is really a kind of scarce rare earth. Almost all heavy rare earth concentrates in China southern regions, which is easy to be mined and abstracted, being the particular rare mineral of China southern regions. Among that, heavy rare earth elements like terbium and dysprosium can only be mined about three decades. In 2012, the export volume of rare-earth ore, rare-earth metal and rare-earth compound was 16,265 tons, increasing by 3.5% YOY. Moreover, it is much lower than the export quota in 2012 (30,966 tons), only being about half of the export quota (30,966 tons) of Chinese government. Since 2010, China's legal export of rare earths has successively decreased for three years. Actually, some Chinese enterprises illegally exported a great amount of rare earths through smuggling every year. Chinese government expects to improve and promote rare earth prices through national rare earth storage. In addition, Chinese government will also boost the mergers and reorganization with large state-owned enterprises as the center, which aims to establish and intensify the system of rare earth strategy, to improve rare earth prices and to reduce rare earth smuggling. For example, Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Group will acquire twelve rare earth enterprises. (research report)

According to current global economic development trend, both permanent magnets industry and phosphor powder industry will develop at the fastest speed. Permanent magnets are widely used in motors, disk drives of computers, MRI, microwave devices, apparatus, etc. Besides cerium, the terbium and dysprosium of heavy rare earth are the important components of permanent magnets. Besides, phosphor powder is applied in fields like energy-saving lamps, LED technologies and high-tech ceramics and the yttrium of heavy rare earth is the major component of it. Heavy rare earth is irreplaceable, so other countries fight for China rare earth resources.(research report)

Because of the output volume increase of batteries, electronic products, automobiles and permanent magnets, the global demand for rare earths is expected to increase at the annual average speed of over 7%, reaching 180,000 tons in 2015. The global sales value of rare earths will increase from USD 3 billion in 2010 to USD 9.2 billion in 2015. In recent years, rare earths' application in information technology materials industry almost covered all electronic material industry. The demand of modern electronics industry for rare earths kept increasing at the growth rate of 10%-15%. (research report)

It is predicted that China rare earth industry will preserve good development trend in the next few years. (research report)

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