November 3, 2010 / 12:16 AM / 9 years ago

China may consider minor metals reserve: report

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China is studying a plan to build strategic reserves for ten minor metals including rare earths, state media reported on Wednesday.

China could better manage the demand and supply conditions of the metals if it keeps a strategic reserve, the Shanghai Securities News reported, citing unnamed sources.

The minor metals that have been included in the study are rare earths, tungsten, antimony, molybdenum, tin, indium, germanium, tantalum and zirconium, the Securities News said.

Separately, the China Securities Journal reported, without naming its source, that the Ministry of Commerce plans to reduce export quotas for minor metals by 2-3 percent each year.

China will cut rare earth export quotas for 2011, but only by a small amount after slashing them this year, the Commerce Ministry said on Tuesday, calling the squeeze on exports a step to save the environment.

China provides about 97 percent of global rare earth production and mined about 120,000 metric tons of rare earths in 2008.

China holds about a third of the known, exploitable global reserves of rare earths, but it worries that its supplies will be depleted within decades at current rates of mining.

Reporting by Ruby Lian and Soo Ai Peng; Editing by David Chance

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