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Rare earth firm seeks foreign partners

Updated: 2012-08-10 09:14
By Wang Zhuoqiong ( China Daily)

The world's largest light rare earth producer is looking for opportunities overseas to develop heavy rare earth projects as it seeks to diversify its products.

Zhang Zhong, general manager of Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare Earth (Group) Hi-Tech Co Ltd, said that with more discoveries of heavy rare earths overseas, the company is in discussion with some foreign companies.

The company's pursuit of heavy rare earths comes as a result of its goal to develop products that use both light and heavy rare earths. The company is expected to form the North Rare Earth Group to consolidate small and medium-sized rare earth enterprises in the north and some in the south, where heavy rare earths are available.

To raise their pricing power and regulate the industry, Baotou Steel Rare Earth and nine other rare earth companies launched a national trading platform on Wednesday, a move some believe will help break down regional barriers among them.

To enhance his company's business, Zhang urged the country to reserve more light rare earths. He disagreed with opinions of some that light rare earths are not worth reserving because of their large stockpiles and low value.

He said light rare earths, which are not renewable, will have more advantages in costs if the country reserves them earlier.

In one or two years, the world rare earth supply layout will change significantly, resulting in the decrease of China's supply. A sufficient reserve in rare earths will help China, he said.