An update to an administrative document in China will widen
the access available to foreign investors in certain
industries, including graphite and rare earths, when it takes
effect on July 28, Industrial Minerals learnt this week.
The update is to the Special Administrative Measures for
Admittance of Foreign Investments (negative list). It will open
up market entry in 22 areas including banking, transportation,
manufacturing, infrastructure, energy, agriculture and mineral
In the mineral resources sector specifically, the government
has canceled the restriction on access to foreign investment in
graphite exploration and exploitation.
It has also removed restrictions on the smelting and
separation of rare earths, which are currently limited to joint
ventures and cooperations with Chinese companies.
Furthermore, restrictions on foreign investment access to
tungsten smelting has also been canceled.
China will also cancel restrictions on foreign capital stock
ratios for manufacturers of special vehicles and new energy
vehicles (NEVs). Restrictions on foreign capital stock ratios
will be canceled for commercial vehicles in 2020, and for
passenger vehicles in 2022.
But the government continues to prohibit foreign investment
in the exploration and exploitation of tungsten, molybdenum,
tin, antimony, fluorspar, rare earths and radioactive minerals
in the new update.
The revision of the negative list has been interpreted as a
move by the government to promote its willingness to remove
barriers to entry for foreign investors, and was welcomed by
some market participants who viewed it in that light.
"The opening of foreign investment in the graphite market
may bring new opportunities and... development of more
high-quality and high-end products," a graphite market
Graphite is currently mainly used in refractories, ceramics,
petrochemicals and the cement industry, as well as in
lithium-ion batteries as the main anode material.
According to assessments by Industrial Minerals on June 28,
the fob China price for flake graphite, 94-97% C, -100 mesh,
was $655-790 per tonne, while the price for +80 mesh material
of the same carbon content was $1,050-1,210 per tonne. Both
prices were unchanged from the previous week.
The update to the list comes at a significant time because
2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform
and opening. It was announced on June 28 by the National
Development & Reform Commission together with the Ministry