By KEITH BRADSHER and EDWARD WONG New York Times Published: October 10, 2010
HONG KONG — Chinese customs officials continued to bar all exports of rare earth minerals to Japan over the weekend, industry officials said, but the Chinese government showed signs of taking a more conciliatory stance toward Japan. …
Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China told European political and business leaders Wednesday that China had not imposed any bans on exports of industrial minerals for political purposes and that it did not intend to stop exports in the future. Rare earths are used in the manufacture of hybrid gasoline-electric cars, computer screens, large wind turbines and many other applications.
Mr. Wen made his remarks in a speech at a China-European Union business meeting in Brussels. Chinese officials have consistently taken the position that they have not imposed any regulations preventing rare earth exports; any such regulations could be easily challenged at the World Trade Organization. …
Throughout the halt on exports of rare earth minerals, China has allowed continued exports of manufactured products that use rare earths, like powerful magnets, and highly purified rare earth metals. Japan is the largest importer of rare earth minerals and ores. Companies there use the material to make a wide range of high- technology products and have been reluctant to import manufactured goods from China instead.
Even before questions arose over the exports to Japan in late September, China had been putting tighter caps on rare earth exports for the last five years. When the export halt was imposed, the quota for 2010 was within a month and a half of being exhausted. But shipments could continue into November if customs officials allow a resumption soon. Edward Wong reported from Beijing and Keith Bradsher from Hong Kong.
Note: China mines 97% of the world’s rare earth metals.
The Lanthanides Lamentation Limerick:
What is “Rare Earth Metals”, and who gives a hoot?
They’re all mined in China with prices to boot.
We closed our own mines
with lawsuits and fines.
We need them for green jobs: No freedom to toot.