An official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology told an industry conference that China should strengthen exploration of the Bayan Obo mine in the Inner Mongolia region, as well as medium and heavy rare earths resources.
China should also release its exploration and mining rights for rare earths appropriately, according to Industry ministry official Chang Guowu, who was cited by the Shanghai Securities News on Monday.
“[We should] expand the exploitation of resources… further improve overall rare earths quota management and regulate the utilisation of imported ore and other waste containing rare earths resources,” Chang said.
China is the world’s dominant producer of rare earths, a prized group of 17 minerals used in consumer electronics and military equipment. It raised its 2021 rare earths mining quota to a record high of 168,000 tonnes.
Chang noted that China still has shortcomings in green development and high-end rare earth products applications, according to the Shanghai Securities News.
He suggested the industry should maintain prices of rare earth products within a reasonable range.
The state-backed China Minmetals Earth Co Ltd said in September that its parent group was planning a rare earth-related strategic restructuring with Chinalco and the Ganzhou government.
• Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard