Baotou Steel Rare Earth starts to carry out enterprise reserves, the method of state reserves is controversial

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The Ministry of Land and Resources recently organized an expert seminar on national strategic reserves of mineral deposits, saying that the research and implementation of strategic reserves of mineral deposits will be launched soon, and the first batch of pilot projects of mineral deposits will focus on coal and rare earth resources. According to relevant experts, the state still has disputes over the method of rare earth reserves. On the other hand, as a leading rare earth enterprise in China, Baotou Steel Rare Earth (600111) has already started to carry out enterprise reserves.

Reserve 300,000 tons of concentrate and 80,000 tons of oxides

"As far as we know, the company has started to reserve rare earths since April this year." A researcher who did not want to be named revealed that the current production capacity of Baotou Steel's rare earth concentrator is 250,000 tons/year, equivalent to rare earth oxidation The annual production capacity is about 100,000 tons. The concentrates sold by the company to the outside world are equivalent to 55,000-60,000 tons of oxides, and the excess part goes into the concentrate reserve project.

Baotou Steel Rare Earth plans to reserve 300,000 tons of concentrate in 5 years, and spend 3 billion yuan to reserve 80,000 tons of oxides in 2-3 years. Baotou Steel Rare Earth will apply for interest subsidies for the reserves of concentrates, while the interest on the reserves of oxides will be jointly borne by the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Government, Baotou Municipal Government and Baotou Steel Group.

Analysts believe that the company's purchase and storage actions are from a market perspective. In April, it was reported that Morley Mining, the only rare earth mining company in the United States, planned to raise $500 million to restart the Mountain Pass rare earth mine in California. The mine, once the world's largest producer of rare earths, has been abandoned for decades.

"The purchase and storage of rare earths by Baotou Steel is a shock to the enthusiasm for the development of rare earth minerals at home and abroad." Analysts said that, stimulated by the rising price of rare earths this year, more and more capital at home and abroad began to pay attention to the development of rare earth minerals, which is bound to impact on future rare earth prices. Baotou Steel Rare Earth's stockpiling plan at this time can be regarded as a "reservoir" for controlling global rare earth prices. Once rare earth prices rise excessively, they will be dumped and stored, and the price will always be controlled at the critical point of benefit of foreign rare earth mining.

The method of the state reserve is controversial

As for state reserves of rare earths, it does not seem to have been discussed at the government level recently. According to a reporter from China Securities Journal, as early as last year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology took the lead in formulating the "Rare Earth Industry Development Policy (Draft for Comment)", which proposed: Baotou Bayan Obo resource mining should strengthen comprehensive utilization and solve the problem of rare earth and other resources in tailings. To solve the problem of protection and protection against radioactive pollution, limit the amount of mining resources of the East Mine and main mines, and improve the reserves of rare earth resources.

However, after more than half a year, not only the rare earth reserve policy has not been finalized, but even the "Reference Rare Earth Industry Development Policy (Draft for Comment)" has not seen the "finalized" text.

"What method to purchase and reserve is still very controversial in the industry, and it may be difficult to make progress in the short term." An expert from Baotou who participated in the discussion of rare earth reserve policy revealed that although it is recognized as a strategic resource, what is it? Whether to reserve concentrates or reserve oxides is now debated in the industry.

According to the opinions of the above experts, since the rare earth resources in Baotou are associated with iron ore, rare earth ore will inevitably be separated while mining iron ore resources, so it is necessary to reserve this part of by-product ore; He does not agree that the selected concentrate will continue to be produced, and rare earth oxides will be smelted. "Instead of storing oxides or even rare earth metals, it is better not to produce them at all." The expert believes that the purchase and storage of rare earth oxides meets the needs of individual companies, not the national strategic needs.

It is understood that due to the large number of rare earth varieties, there are still great disputes between the north and south rare earth enterprises and experts from various parties regarding the variety and quantity of rare earth reserves in the state, as well as the acquisition and storage methods described above. .