Jiangxi unveils China’s first rare earths policies plan

By Albert Li
Published: Thursday, 14 December 2017

Following China’s recent inspections of rare earth industry facilities and the resulting guidance, Jiangxi province has released a rare earth policies plan, which is a first for the East Asian country.

In China, the Ministry of Industry & Information Technology, along with a team from the China Rare Earth Association, finished their inspections and research into rare earth companies in Henan and Jiangxi provinces, which lasted from September 27 to October 13. The inspections focused on resource utilisation companies and their source material purchases, production and sales.

During the inspections, the team found that companies were processing mineral products, and using some environmental equipment, that did not comply with the necessary standards. The ministry urged local governments to act on these cases and to begin closer surveillance of the offending companies.

The provincial government of Jiangxi subsequently unveiled a control and management plan for the rare earth industry on October 17, the first of its kind in China. The plan was constructed from the administration’s long-term experience of the industry and the special actions taken against illegal rare earth mining and production activities over the past few years, which were intended to strengthen the national rare earth strategy.

The plan contains 19 measures, which include a ban on the mining of rare earth resources by any company or person without a permit, and the enforcement of a production quota that was set by the country’s central government. It will also encourage China’s Southern Rare Earth Group to optimise the quota within each company without its separation and smelting quota being exceeded. This means that a company would be unable to import rare earth source materials to process after the quota is fully taken up.

No trading company without a permit or a quota is allowed to import rare earth either. This measure is intended to prevent the excessive production of rare earth processing products. Projects will also be banned from resource utilisation and recycling.

The new plan in Jiangxi is expected to set an example for other provinces to follow, and may help to support a reduction in prices in the south and to prevent companies exceeding production quotas and to stop the illegal black market for rare earth products.