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China launches campaign to regulate rare earth production

Source:   Time:

BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- China has launched a five-month inspection campaign that aims to crack down on rare earth production that is not in line with government regulations, the country's industry ministry said on Monday.

Rare earth producers that have no directive production plan, exceed production quotas or continue to use outdated or environmentally destructive production techniques will be forced to halt operation or face cancellation of quotas and licenses, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said in a statement on its website.

The campaign, which starts from August 1 to December 31, will also clamp down on the sale or purchase of rare earth products from mines that violate industry regulations, the statement said.

Rare earths, a group of 17 metals, are among the most sought-after resources in modern manufacturing. They are vital materials to make an array of sophisticated products ranging from electric car batteries, wind turbines to aerospace alloys.

China suffers serious environmental pollution from mining the metals. More than 90 percent of rare earths on the international market come from China.

To control the environmental damage, the Chinese government has announced various policies, including suspending the issuance of new licenses for rare earth prospecting and mining, imposing production caps and export quotas, and announcing tougher environmental standards.

China imposed a production cap of 93,800 metric tonnes for this year.

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