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Development Of Chinese Rare Earth Industry - Rare earth is a "big family", including the total 17 elements from lanthanum to scandium in periodic table of elements. For the uniqueness of atomic structure and plentiful electron energy level, these elements contain some physical properties, which can be combined with other materials to make various and useful emerging materials. The most outstanding function is to improve the quantity and performance of other products. It is indispensable raw materials of many advanced products and called as "the vitamin of modern industry".

Chinese rare earth industry has a history of over 40 years, which achieves development in the aspects of production and application. Currently, China has established complete system of rare earth industry. In the decades, especially, it forms the sound tendency of the development from raw materials to deep processing, from application of rare earth to high-technological field. At present, China has owned the largest rare earth resources in the world and also is the largest exporter. It is the sole country which can supply products of different grades and specifications accounting for around 87% of the international market share.

In 2009, the output of Chinese rare earth was 124.8 thousand tons. China supplied over 95% of rare earth in global. It had the absolute monopoly position. Since 2010, the prices of rare earth products have increased sharply and it hits the highest in recent years. For example, the price of neodymium oxide is CNY 180 thousand per ton to CNY 200 thousand per ton, and the price of neodymium metal is from CNY 225 thousand per ton to CNY 250 thousand per ton in 2010.

It is no doubt that rare earth is a good stuff. However, the exploitation of rare earth is along with serious environment pollutions and at the cost of human health. Therefore, China has to control the export of rare earth. On March 13 2012, the USA, Japan, and EU appealed to WTO for the export restriction of Chinese rare earth and some raw materials. Wind power generation, EV (electric vehicle), laser, and precision guidance cannot exist without rare earth. The 25 strategic elements approved by the USA in 21th century and 40 high-tech elements chosen by Japan contain the whole rare earth elements.

At the same time, the controversial rare earth industry between China and Europe, USA, Japan will involve in the state monopoly after the salt industry and tobacco industry.

For the time being, the 12th Five-Year-Plan of rare earth industry will be introduced. The around 100 rare earth mining and smelting enterprises in China will become the major regulatory targets in the measures of industry access threshold and environmental standards. Besides, the number of rare earth deep processing enterprises in the downstream of product line will be larger and become another spot in the 12th Five-Year-Plan. In addition, huge special funds of rare earth will be invested in the 12th Five-Year-Plan and Ministry of Science and Technology will allocate CNY 300 million to CNY 450 million for the development and application of rare earth. On the whole, the prospect of rare earth industry is bright, especially in China with resources superiority.

More market research on the subject: Research Report of Chinese Rare Earth Industry, 2012