(IBTimes) - China, stronghold of the world's supply of rare
earths, is set to carry out a proposal of uniting its many rare
earths manufacturers into a one large company that represents the
Chen Yanhai, chief secretary of the Resource Department from
China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said the
government has come out with a plan to restructure the industrial
capability of its rare earths sector in order to better improve
its manufacturing efficiency.
"China has set a major direction for an industrial
transformation in the rare earth manufacturing area. The
government will establish a platform for companies with good
reputations in the industry to make the first step. Local
competitors can later merge into larger enterprises. Also, this
process is the inevitable result of this industry," Mr Yanhai
told China Radio International (
) in an interview.
Government intends to carry out the full merger and upgrade of
its rare earths sector within two years, Mr Yanha said.
However, state-owned miner and manufacturer China Minmetals
Company, although it welcomed the proposal, said the government's
intention of merging highly dispersed resources into large ones
in two years is ambitious, CRI reported.
"We have to meet three goals - high-end development, green
development, and innovative development. If not, the restructure
to improve exploitation and manufacturing efficiency is just a
hollow word," Zhou Zhongshu, president of China Minmetals
Upgrading the whole system also meant investing a lot of
resources, he added.
"Moreover, we need to build a consistent industrial chain. We
can make full use of our resource advantage to introduce more
advanced technology from foreign countries," Mr Zhongshu
China supplies more than 95 per cent of the world's rare earth
elements. But rampant and illegal exploitation have caused
serious environmental problems, not to mention resources gone to
waste because of excessive production. These very reasons
ultimately forced the country to limit its exports of the
precious elements since 2009.
CRI reported the industrial restructure could be easier said
than done. More than half of resources used by the state-owned
mines may be reused and recycled. But for those mined by small
companies and illegal exploiters, the percentage could be as low
as anywhere from 5 per cent to 40 per cent.
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