China begins stockpiling rare earths

China begins stockpiling rare earths
The Chinese government has begun stockpiling rare earths in a bid to build strategic reserves, it has been revealed today.

According to the China Securities Journal, a state-backed newspaper, current low prices for rare earths had prompted the start of the strategic buying. The reserves could be used to address future shortfalls of the resources, it said.

China, which currently produces more than 90% of the world's rare earths, has previously announced its intention to build a strategic reserve system, but had not publicly said that it had started stockpiling. Officials maintained recently that plans to build a strategic reserve system were in line with global trade rules and were aimed at protecting resources and the environment.

The move has sparked concerns, however, over the country's control of the coveted materials. The news is expected to accelerate the development of domestic initiatives to protect their supply.

Laura Hopperton

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