Thursday, December 30, 2010

Beijing slashes rare earths export in 2011, raises fears anew

China, the world's largest supplier of rare earths materials, has sparked another thing to worry about from its biggest importers.
Producing roughly 97 percent of the world's supply of rare earth minerals, Beijing will reduce its export quotas by as much as 35 percent for the first six months of next year compared to 2010.
The world's second largest economy, China, said that the reduced export quota will preserve its ample reserves. It also warned against basing its overall export quota on the first half of 2011.
Rare earth materials are used in the production of computers, mobile phones, hybrid vehicles, and most of the gadgets used in today's technology.
China consumes about 75 percent of the yearly 110,000-ton annual rare earths demands. The remaining 25 percent are divided between Japan, the US and Europe in descending order.
It is estimated that by 2015, the world demand will go north to 250,000 tons.
The US and Japan have been studying ways to decrease their reliance from China, as Beijing has steadily cut down its exports of the valuable minerals.
Japan's Sony Corp. said that the impact of China's reduction of rare earths are not yet felt now but continued slash down will cause a shortage or an increased prices of related materials and parts.
Companies are studying ways how to minimize the use of rare earths and are finding ways to use alternative materials.
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