China, the world's stronghold of vital rare earths needed for a large number of electronic devices used in defense, alternative energy and communications industries, has already started stockpiling its rare earths, a state-run news daily reported.
The US government, through its Department of Energy, will allot some $120 million to fund the creation of a rare earths research facility that will aid the economic leader lessen if not totally cut off its dependence from China, the world's stronghold of the essential 17 precious elements.
Citing Jia Yinsong, head of the rare-earth department at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China Securities Journal on Thursday reported that Beijing has already identified 11 rare earth mining zones to carry out its stockpiling plan which it originally announced 2011. No details, however, were provided on the exact locations of the stockpiles.
In May 2011, China said it will put up strategic stockpiles of rare earths minerals.
China Securities Journal reported government funds will be given to companies that will aid and support federal government to purchase and secure the resources. The names and identities of the companies were not identified.
China accounts for more than 95 per cent of the world's total rare earths supply.
The country is currently facing strong complaints from the U.S., the European Union and Japan on its export curbs on the precious rare earths minerals. But the second largest economy had insisted it needed to curb exports to protect its environment.
This year, China allowed exports of only 21,226 tonnes equivalent of rare earths. Last year, although the government approved an export quota of 30,200 tonnes, only 18,600 tonnes were actually exported.
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