Private firms heading overseas for rare earth

Updated: 2011-08-17 16:22

By Cai Xiao (

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Surging rare earth prices have attracted Chinese private enterprises to enter the field, but limited mining lease licenses forces them to seek opportunities abroad, China Business News reported.

According to the paper, Qian Dong Group, from Jiangxi province, plans to invest $30 million in South Africa to build a rare earth oxide production line with an annual capacity of 3,000 tons. Hong Kong-based Sinom Ltd is also seeking rare earth investment opportunities in overseas markets.

Local governments control the issuance of rare earth mining leases, thus limiting domestic opportunities for some private enterprises, the paper said.

Qian Dong Group told the paper that it has a large smelting capacity but the rare earth quota assigned to the company is far from enough.