Rare earth prices up amid illegal mining crackdown

Beijing, June 26 (IANS) Rare earth prices in China have surged about 10 percent in the past two weeks, helped by a crackdown on illegal mining, Shanghai Securities Journal reported Wednesday.

Rare earth metals are a group of 17 elements that are widely used in high-tech products.

According to the report, prices of praseodymium-neodymium oxide stood at around 270,000 yuan ($45,000) per tonne June 25, about 20,000 yuan higher than the price recorded two weeks ago, Xinhua reported.

Prices of dysprosium oxide and terbium oxide were 1.35 million yuan and 2.6 million yuan per tonne respectively June 25, each up about 200,000 yuan compared with a fortnight ago.

Rare earth prices reached their peak in July 2011 in China before it slumped over weak market demand and overcapacity in production.

According to the report, police in east China’s Jiangxi province, the country’s major rare earth production base, have stepped up inspections on the sector.

The campaign is part of nationwide efforts to clean up the sector. The ministry of industry and IT said tougher measures would be launched to curb illegal mining and processing.

Rare earth permanent magnet materials, which have rare earth elements in their composition, are widely used in electrical motors, medical treatment and spaceflight.

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