|30 October, 2018

China industry ministry launches illegal rare earth crackdown

Government bodies will launch a month-long campaign against illegal rare earth production

Miners are seen at Xinyuan coal mine in Qinyuan county, in northern China's Shanxi province May 24, 2007.

Miners are seen at Xinyuan coal mine in Qinyuan county, in northern China's Shanxi province May 24, 2007.

REUTERS/Stringer

BEIJING- * China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) says it and other government bodies will launch a month-long campaign against illegal rare earth production in the country involving eight inspection teams.

* Despite recent improvements, illegal rare earth mining and unplanned production still occur from time to time, disrupting market order, MIIT says in a statement

* "Previously we have stated that prices are likely to track sideways unless a nationwide MIIT crackdown commences. Well here it is," CLSA analyst Dylan Kelly says in a note.

* Rare earths, of which China is the world's biggest producer, are a group of 17 elements used in electric vehicles and consumer electronics.

* Southeast China's Jiangxi province, a key rare earth producing region, is already implementing a crackdown on illegal rare earth output until January 2019. 

* MIIT separately on Tuesday attributed China's lower rare earth output quotas in the second half of 2018 to higher-than-normal quotas for the first half. 

(Reporting by Tom Daly Editing by Edmund Blair) ((tom.daly@thomsonreuters.com; +86 10 6627 1023;))

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