China's Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) has announced the country has increased its 2014 mining quotes on light rare earths at 105,000 tonnes, a jump of 12 per cent from last year. Mining quotas for heavy rare earths and tungsten, in the meantime, were retained at 2013 levels.
In a statement, MLR said the mining quotas for rock-type light rare earths grew by 11,200 tonnes (REO) or 15 per cent higher than a year ago at 93,800 tonnes (REO).
Mining for heavy rare earths and tungsten for this year have been set at 17,900 metric tonnes and 89,000 tonnes, respectively.
"The ministry will keep exercising total control over the exploitation placing a limit on the total volume of rare earth and tungsten to be mined. The output quotas of tungsten will remain unchanged from last year's levels and there will be a cap of 89,000 tons for tri-oxide in 2014. While the ministry shall no longer maintain total control over the exploitation quota for antimony as of this year," the ministry said in the statement.
Rare earths are 17 elements, including lanthanum, tungsten, neodymium and molybdenum, that are highly essential for the manufacture of high tech gadgets and armaments.
The MLR likewise announced no new licenses for tungsten and rare earths prospecting and mining will be given before June 30, 2015, except for those state-sanctioned projects involving mergers and reorganizations as well as optimal distribution.
On Monday, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said the country has 67 rare-earth recycling projects.
"In the name of resource recovery and comprehensive utilization, some rare earth recycling enterprises purchased and processed illegal rare earth mineral products used with its smelting and separation production line, while trading in the black market, which has seriously disrupted the rare earth market order, the government will resolutely crack down on various illegal activities," the ministry said on its Web site.