China has set up a minimum production threshold for rare-earth producers for the first time, and current production capacity will be cut by 20 percent based on the new rule, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced Monday.
A rare-earth mining company should have annual production capacity of at least 20,000 tonnes of rare-earth oxides and for a rare-earth smelting company the minimum annual production capacity is 5,000 tonnes. Their fixed-asset investment must also account for at least 20 percent of total investment, according to the new rule.
About a third of the 23 existing rare-earth miners and almost half of the 99 smelting and metallurgy processors will fail to reach the standards, China National Radio reported Monday citing Jia Yinsong, head of the rare-earth office with the MIIT.
The new rule is intended to protect the country’s rare-earth resources and the environment, as well as pushing forward upgrading of the industry and regulating production so as to ensure the healthy development of the sector, the MIIT said.