China / Society

China vows continued crackdown on illegal rare earth mining

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-08-08 20:21

China vows continued crackdown on illegal rare earth mining

A worker at the site of a rare earth metals mine in Nancheng county, Jiangxi province. Two major rare earth producers have been approved by the central government to become conglomerates by the end of this year in order to further consolidate the rare resources, combat smuggling and alleviate overcapacity in production. [Photo/Agencies]

HOHHOT - The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Saturday that China will ratchet up efforts to stop illegal production and sales of rare earth elements.

Xin Guobin, vice minister of Industry and Information Technology, said the illegal mining of rare earth causes oversupply and suppresses the market price.

Xin said the ministry will strengthen supervision and hold local governments accountable if they fail to enforce the crackdown on illegal rare earth mining.

A special invoice for rare earth and public reporting will be used to detect and deter illegal mining, Xin added.

According to the Association of China Rare Earth Industry, at least 40,000 tons of rare earth elements were illegally mined last year, while legal production stood at 110,000 tons.

China started a campaign to crack down on illegal rare earth mining in 2011, shutting down 55 companies and seizing 23,000 tons of illegally mined rare earth products.

Rare earth metals are vital for manufacturing high-tech products ranging from smartphones to electric car batteries.

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