China will be imposing stricter standards and regulations in its rare earths mining to salvage what remains of its rare earths reserves amid continued rampant illegal mining activities, even at the expense of a massive shakeup in the global supply and demand for the precious raw commodity.
A monument, which reads: ''Home of rare earths welcomes you'', stands in a field of wind turbines near the town of Damao in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in this October 31, 2010 file photo.
In a white paper released by the Information Office of the State Council, or China's cabinet on Wednesday, titled "Situation and Policies of China's Rare Earth Industry," it said the world's second-largest economy, which happen to be also the world's stronghold of rare earths, will "implement stricter standards for ecological protection and protective exploitation policies concerning rare earth resources" in aid of its dwindling resources.
Although China only has an equivalent of 23 per cent of the world's total volume of rare earths, this however has been on a decline due to rampant mining and illegal hoarding.
Chinese state-run Xinhua News reported the paper was the first of its kind that was published by the cabinet concerning its rare earth industry.
Among the relevant laws and regulations that China hope to improve on is the creation of a regulated and orderly system of rare earth exploitation, production and market circulation.
This will happen "within a short period of time," while pointing out that a possible merger and reorganisation will be pushed in its rare earths industry.
"China targets a unified, standardized and highly efficient administrative system for the industry and a healthy development pattern featuring rational mining, orderly production, efficient utilisation, advanced technology and intensive development," according to the white paper.
Meanwhile, China urged other nations not to ''politicise'' its self-regulation policies of its rare earths sector as it defended that these were "in full compliance with WTO rules."
"China is willing to cooperate with relevant parties to resolve the issue at an early date," Gao Yunhu, vice director of the rare earths office of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said in a news conference coinciding with the release of the white paper.
Other world economic leaders led by the United States, European Union, Japan and Canada filed a complaint in March before the WTO, alleging Beijing of unfairly choking off exports of the commodities to benefit its domestic industries.
But China argued it needed to control its exports of the precious commodity to save its environment, which have started to experience the ill effects of its rampant and illegal mining.
"The protection of the environment is never a pretext for gaining advantage or increasing economic returns," Su Bo, vice minister of industry and information technology, said in the same news conference.
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