Research Report of Chinese Rare Earth Industry, 2012



China Research and Intelligence Co., Ltd. (CRI)

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In 1980s, the smelting separation technology popularized in three stateowned rare earth factories situated in Baotou, Shanghai and Zhujiang was spread over China quickly, and the productivity of Chinese smelting separation products of rare earth also expanded promptly.

At present, China mainly concentrates on three rare earth resources, forming three production bases: northern rare earth production base with hybrid rare earth minerals as raw materials is led by Baotou Rare Earth Hightech Company and Gansu Rare Earth Company; mediumheavy rare earth production base with southern ionic ores as raw materials is led by Guangzhou Zhujiang Ironmaking Company and Jiangyin Jiahua Rare Earth Company, etc.; bastnaesite production base in Sichuan with bastnaesite of Mianning and Sichuan as their raw materials.

During the 1990s, China began to exploit and export rare earth in large scale. Due to the low exploitation costs (low labor and environmental costs), the cheap rare earth from China dominated the world market. Therefore, the majority of countries halted the exploitation of rare earth. Chinese rare earth resources account for about 1/3 of the world rare earth resources, but at present more than 90% rare earth products globally are produced and supplied by China.

Since 1998, China started to carry out license granting mechanisms of export quota for rare earth products. In recent years, Chinese government is gradually reducing the number of export manufacturers and quota, as well as the annual yield of rare earth ore. For example, the gross of the export quota for rare earth products of domestic enterprises was 50,000 tons in 2005, issued by Chinese Ministry of Commerce, while in 2008 it was reduced to 34,000 tons. Hereafter, quota is in a declining tendency on the whole, and the decrease of export quota results in constant increase of smuggling in China. 

It is estimated that in 2011 the export rare earth products of China exceeded 50,000 tons, whereas the statistics of China Customs was less than 15,000 tons. It means that a mass of rare earth are departed by smuggling. 

In December 27, 2011, Chinese Ministry of Commerce released the first export quota of rare earth of China in 2012. The gross reaches 10,546 tons, accounting for about 80% of the quota of the whole year. Among it, there are 9,095 tons of light rare earth and 1,415 tons of mediumheavy rare earth. At the same time, Chinese Ministry of Commerce also classifies and regulates light rare earth and mediumheavy rare earth for the first time, in other words, it makes a specific quantity provision for the light rare earth and mediumheavy rare earth for export: export quota of mediumheavy rare earth in the whole year of 2012 is 3,582.5 tons, covering nominated enterprises and enterprises under verification. 

The practice of particular quota for mediumheavy rare earth will finally make the kind of rare earth get scarcer. Light rare earth is the relatively common one, which is the subproduct in the production process of mediumheavy rare earth; while mediumheavy rare earth is even scarcer, which is the indispensable raw material for some professional technological purposes. 

Rare earth is the collection of 17 elements. Because some elements of mediumheavy rare earth are scarcer with little reserves, the prices of them can be over 10 times that of light rare earth. Classification regulation of rare earth export can better protect and make use of resources. There are great differences in the resource endowment, modes of exploitation and smelting and processing, the pollutions in production procedures to environment and the separate usages in various elements. 

It is worthy to notice that: Chinese Ministry of Commerces policy on export quota of rare earth in 2012 will lead to influences in two aspects: 

Firstly, the international market rather than the domestic market may be short of mediumheavy rare earth in 2012. Under the condition that the export quota of mediumheavy rare earth is less than that in 2011, the development movement of mediumheavy rare earth will still be serious in the next year. Maybe, for the supply surpassing demand in domestic mediumheavy rare earth market, the lists of export enterprises under verification and the important mediumheavy rare earth export manufacturers, such as Gansu Rare Earth, Baogang Rare Earth, Guangdong Zhujiang Rare Earth, Baotou Rhodia Rare Earth and so on, in the first export quotas reserved table, the rare earth production of which is likely to decline.

Therefore, the price development of mediumheavy rare earth in 2012 will be an upward trend.
Secondly, it is the light rare earth market. The prices of some rare earth products in the first half of 2011experienced the increase of 3 to 5 times, while it decreased by 30% to 50% in the second half of 2011. After the implementation of regional joint action scheme of development and supervision by southern five provinces for heavy rare earth in 2010, governments of Baotou in Inner Mongolia, Jining in Shandong and Liangshanzhou in Sichuan, signed Regional Joint Action Scheme of Development and Supervision for Light Rare Earth in Three Provinces (Districts) and Cities (States) inInner Mongolia, Shandong, Sichuan which symbolizes the official launch of the regional joint action for light rare earth in China. Therefore, the price of light rare earth will also be predicted to keep steady or increase continually in 2012.

With the rapid development of hightechnology industry, the consumption of rare earth globally keeps rising, and it is predicted to reach about 200,000 tons in 2015. Although Chinese rare earth industry is under the situation that supply exceeds demand in the short term, the prospect of Chinese rare earth industry is bright with the enhancement control of rare earth exploitation and export quota in China, as well as the fast increasing demand of downstream application industries. 

More following information can be acquired through this report:

  • Supply of Global Rare Earth
  • Trade of Global Rare Earth
  • Demand of Rare Earth
  • Price Movement of Chinese Rare Earth
  • Regulatory Policies of Chinese Government for Rare Earth Industry 
  • Export of Chinese Rare Earth
  • Smuggling of Chinese Rare Earth
  • Major Enterprises and Operations of Chinese Rare Earth Industry
  • Development Prediction on Chinese Rare Earth Industry

Following people are recommended to buy this report:

  • Manufacturers of Rare Earth
  • Trade Enterprises of Rare Earth
  • Downstream Enterprises of Rare Earth
  • Investors and Research Institutions Focusing on Chinese Rare Earth Industry