Global Outlook: When is China's "pain of rare earth"

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Recently, the issue of rare earth management in China has once again become the focus of Chinese and foreign media. As we all know, rare earth is a strategic resource with extremely important strategic value. China's rare earth resource reserves once accounted for 85% of the world's reserves, but they have been transported to the international market at extremely low prices. According to reports, China's rare earth output in 2009 was 150,000 tons, far exceeding the market demand of 100,000 tons, and the price has been hovering at a low level.

In the international commodity market, there is a strange phenomenon, such as oil, coal, iron ore, etc. When China is in the export stage, the price is extremely low, and once it is imported, the price soars dozens of times. The United States, which is also rich in rare earth resources, has closed its rare earth mines; while resource-poor Japan has bought Chinese rare earths aggressively and buried them in the sea for use in the next few decades. At present, China's actual rare earth reserves are less than 30% of the world's. If it is not effectively managed, once it becomes pure imports in the future, we will not only spend dozens of times, or even hundreds of times of money, but also more likely to be strategically placed controlled by Western countries.

There are very complicated international and domestic backgrounds and reasons why China's rare earths have been sold at low prices.

First of all, from an international perspective, in order to curb China's peaceful development, the United States and other Western countries use the consumption of rare earths as an important means to continuously weaken China's strategic advantages. They use various means to drive down the price of rare earths, consume and even store rare earths without restraint, which directly leads to the decline of rare earth reserves in China year by year. In order to obtain cheap rare earth supply for a long time, western developed countries have formed strategic alliances. When relevant Chinese authorities send out signals such as rectifying the order of rare earth production and strictly prohibiting the export of rare earth raw materials, they will exert pressure on China through publicity, public hearings, and threats to terminate technology transfer. In addition, in the face of China's increasingly strict management, some large Western companies have managed to bypass the supervision of China's policies and regulations, set up companies next to China's rare earth mines through joint ventures, infiltrated rare earth mining, or through acquisitions, mergers, and reorganizations way to control Chinese companies with mining rights.

Domestically, the reasons are also complicated. First, for a long time in the past, we did not fully understand the important role and value of rare earths, and we were blindly optimistic about the high share of rare earth resources in our country. Second, the development of rare earth minerals is chaotic and the concentration of rare earth industry is low. For such an important strategic resource, some mining rights have been delegated to counties and townships. These local governments, for local and short-term interests, are obsessed with the state’s total mining control targets, and some even sell mining targets, plus rare earth companies. Extensive management methods, unreasonable product structure, small scale, too many entities, outdated selection technology, vicious competition and other problems generally lead to serious resource loss and environmental damage. Third, as the country's export quota of rare earths decreases year by year, rare earth smuggling activities are rampant. It is estimated that in 2009, more than 20,000 tons of rare earths were smuggled out of the country, accounting for about 1/3 of the actual export volume.

Rare earth resources are a major strategic issue related to my country's economic security, military security and social stability. We must take precautionary measures, take decisive measures, and comprehensively use various methods and approaches to reverse the chaotic situation in the production, sales, export, research and development of rare earths. Strengthen the ability to control national strategic resources and provide a strong guarantee for the long-term stability and sustainable development of the country.

First, we must attach importance to the rare earth issue from a strategic perspective. To raise the rare earth issue to a major national security and development issue to think and plan, we can use the newly established National Energy Commission to set up a permanent body within the Energy Commission to change the current situation of multiple political divisions and mutual constraints, so as to speed up emergency response and response Speed, enhance execution.

Second, it is necessary to implement a rare earth reserve system to enhance China's right to speak in international trade of rare earths. Through acquisitions, mergers, reorganizations, etc., build a rare earth industry pattern dominated by large enterprise groups, promote the accumulation of resources to advantageous enterprises, and establish and improve the national strategic reserve system for rare earths on the basis of the national mining reserve strategy pilot, and stabilize rare earths. price, and enhance the pricing power and the right to speak in international trade.

The third is to rectify the order of rare earth mining. It is necessary to establish the seriousness and authority of national laws and regulations, to enable leading cadres at all levels to establish the concept of scientific development, to establish a system of first-in-command responsibility, to take the implementation of the national rare earth policy as an important basis for the evaluation and appointment of cadres, and to seriously deal with cadres who violate relevant regulations on rare earths .

Fourth, we must gradually reduce or even terminate the export of rare earths. "Exports of rare earths will threaten the safety of China's rare earth industry", this is the conclusion drawn by the "Revised Draft of the "2009-2015 Rare Earth Industry Development Plan" formulated by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. With the rapid development of my country's economy and the continuous research and development of various new materials and new energy sources, the demand for rare earths will increase rapidly. my country's existing rare earth reserves will be difficult to meet the needs of its own development. We must resolutely safeguard national interests, resist the pressure of Western developed countries, strictly control export quotas, and reduce them year by year.