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China announces non-ferrous metal export quotas

Updated: 2013-12-25

BEIJING - China's Ministry of Commerce on Friday announced the first round of 2014 export quotas for non-ferrous metals including rare earth and a list of enterprises eligible for export.

Apart from rare earth, the first round of export quotas assigned for tungsten, antimony, silver, indium, molybdenum and tin account for 70 percent of the quota set for all of 2014, the ministry said in an online statement.

A total of 13,314 tonnes are allocated for light rare earths and another 1,796 tonnes for medium and heavy rare earth metals, slightly down from last year's first export quota at 15,501 tonnes.

Twenty-eight rare earth production and circulation enterprises will share the quota, including the country's top rare earth producer Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (Group) Hi-Tech Co.

The ministry said some companies were excluded from the allocation because of problems in their mines or environmental protection practices.

Rare earth metals are a group of 17 metals vital to the manufacture of high-tech products ranging from smartphones and wind turbines to electric car batteries, but the process of extracting the metals from the earth is extremely harmful to the environment.

China supplies more than 90 percent of the global demand for rare earths although its reserves account for just 23 percent of the world's total, meaning the sector suffers from overcapacity.

To curb environmental degradation and protect resources, China has set output caps, export quotas and stricter emissions standards as well as high resource taxes for some ores in recent years.

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