Japan and Jamaica on Monday have formally launched a pilot project to test the commercial viability of the island's bauxite waste, more known as red mud, for possible rare earth elements.
Latest data released by the Korea Customs Service (KCS) on Monday showed South Korea's rare earth purchases from China dropped 60.6 per cent in August, or only a total of 61 tonnes, a first in five months.
KCS blamed the purchase drop to the surge in import prices, which in August grew by 31 per cent. It added the cut in rare earths imports from China balances the increase in imports that South Korea purchased from Japan and France.
Imports of the precious rare earths elements from Japan jumped 29.8 per cent in August to 65 tonnes, whereas imports from France increased 515.5 per cent to 46 tonnes.
Translating to value, rare earths import from China fell 41.2 per cent on-month to US$2.45 million while those from Japan and France soared 74.7 per cent and 339.1 per cent, respectively.
August imports of magnesium from China, used in flash photography, fell 37.9 per cent to 657 tonnes, as well as tungsten, used to make wear-resistant abrasives, cutters and knives, retreated at 60.1 per cent to 19 tonnes. Imports of cobalt from China, widely used in batteries and in electroplating, shrank 23.6 per cent to 392 tonnes.
Imports of molybdenum, used to make moly grade stainless steel, however, grew 47.8 per cent to 306 tonnes in August.
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