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Germany urges China to change rare metals policy

The Local · 7 Jan 2011, 16:43

Published: 07 Jan 2011 16:43 GMT+01:00

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Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday met Economy Minister Rainer Brüderle who asked that China "review once again restrictions that it has imposed or plans to impose" on the exportation of the critical minerals, Brüderle's spokesman said.

China announced last month announced a 35 percent cut in rare earth exports for the first half of 2011, drawing complaints from Japan and the United States. It has also hiked export taxes.

On Friday, the China Daily reported that the Ministry of Environmental Protection has approved tougher environmental standards for miners of rare earths, which could further drive up prices.

In recent years, Beijing has radically cut back rare earth metals exports resulting in rocketing prices for elements critical to manufacturing everything from iPods to low-emission cars, wind turbines and missiles.

China controls up to 97 percent of global rare earths production, according to Commerzbank, although this is mostly a result of low Chinese wages and lax environmental controls having made it unprofitable to mine the elements in other countries.

Brüderle issued a statement following the meeting with Li calling for "open, equitable and reliable access to Chinese raw materials."

Story continues below…

Li was due to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday when he was expected to sign a number of commercial agreements.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:58 January 7, 2011 by Gretl
And everyone was screaming for China to join the capitalist community and free trade. It's called supply and demand. They have it and everyone else wants it.

Good luck with that!
18:21 January 7, 2011 by tallady
China in the 1990s undercut everyone in price of rare earth metals REM..but now that demand has increased 4 fold ,they have put a policy in place that limits exports to 35,000 MT up to 2015 and an additional 30% after that a year to protect their resources and they say to protect their environment (thats a joke).China has about 35% of the worlds REMs, The USA,Canada,Australia, Vietnam and Brazil also have large deposits of these metals and all are in the process of reopening their closed mines.Vietnam has signed an agreement with Japan to supply them,A large supply of REM has been found in Kvanefjeld Greenland. The situation is not hopeless. .This is a good example of don't put all your eggs in one basket,, especially if the basket is made in China.
15:03 January 8, 2011 by ron1amr
Does this mean China will also reduce their import?
05:09 January 9, 2011 by bullbull
to protect environment sounds like a joke, yet if you had visited these REMs mines, you would find it's a fact. But I agree with you that you should never put all your eggs in one basket, wherever it is made.
12:03 January 9, 2011 by tallady
The scale and scope of pollution in China far outpaces what occurred in the United States and Europe during their industrial revolutions. China's environmental woes have hurt its economy. The damage to the ecosystem costs China about 9 percent of its GDP, according to the United Nations Development Program...They are limiting the medals for economic reasons not environmental,hence "it"s a joke" referring to their environmental standards.

As to Rem mining ,it is very unfriendly to the environment ,but with new advanced mining technology and the higher profit margins ,thanks to China,, this problem can be greatly improved upon in the future.
14:20 January 9, 2011 by raandy
China has a lot of problems ,this is from today's news...

The authorities suspended a local environmental protection official in eastern China after lead fumes from an illegal battery factory sickened 228 children, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday. Twenty three of the children were reported hospitalized.

The incident joins a long series of pollution problems, including many instances of lead poisoning, that have struck rural China in recent years as the nation¦#39;s industrial boom has spread from the Pacific coast to inland provinces.
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