March 14, 2011 / 4:00 AM / 7 years ago

China to issue new rare earth export quotas this yr-report

BEIJING, March 14 (Reuters) - China will issue a second batch of rare earth export quotas later this year, but the total volume for 2011 has yet to be decided, the China Securities Journal said, citing Chinese commerce minister Chen Deming.

Chen said the decision on how much would be adjusted compared to last year was now in the “last stage of research”.

China announced at the end of last year that it would cut quotas for the first half of the year by 35 percent, saying rampant and unregulated production over the last few years had caused significant environmental problems.

It also said it would crack down on illegal extraction and trade in rare earth metals, which amounted to about 10,000 tonnes of output last year, according to some estimates.

Leading producer Molycorp Inc MCP.N said last week that it expected full-year exports from China to be down 21 percent compared to last year. [ID:nTOE72901L]

China produces around 97 percent of total global rare earth supplies, giving it a stranglehold on a range of elements used in wind turbines, defence technologies and batteries for mobile phones and laptop computers.

It has been trying to impose more discipline over the sector, and aims to build a strategic stockpile that will give it greater control over international prices.

The decision to cut exports has alarmed global rare earth consumers, and the United States has said it could complain to the World Trade Organisation. [ID:nN18185675] (Reporting by David Stanway, Editing by Jacquelne Wong)

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