China has set the first batch of its 2022 rare earth mining output quota at 100,800 tonnes, 20% higher than the same time last year, according to a government statement.
China also set the quota for smelting and separation of rare earth at 97,200 tonnes, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and the Ministry of Natural Resources said in a joint statement.
This is also up 20% from a year earlier. The mining quotas will be shared among the country’s four main producers.
China is the world’s dominant producer of rare earths, a group of 17 minerals used in electric vehicles (EVs), consumer electronics and military equipment.
China sits at the centre of the battery supply chain, refining the majority of the world’s lithium, cobalt and rare earth elements, while also producing the bulk of the battery anodes, cathodes and electrolytes needed for EVs.
The world’s largest rare-earth exporter sold in December 4,087.6 tonnes of the metal used for industrial applications, down 15.9% from the prior month, General Administration of Customs data showed.
Rare-earth exports in 2021 were the highest since 2018, according to Reuters records.
Exports of the group of 17 minerals from the world’s biggest producer of rare earths for 2021 rose 38% to 48,918 tonnes from a year earlier.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell