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Two Ministries: Continue to Control Total Amount of Rare Earth and Tungsten Mines

In order to protect and rationally develop rare earth and tungsten mines, Ministry of Natural Resources of the People's Republic of China and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China announce that China will implement total mining control on rare earth ore (REO) and tungsten concentrates in 2020. The total mining control index for rare-earth minerals in China will be 140,000 tons in 2020. China's total tungsten-concentrate mining control index is 105,000 tons.

Rare earth is an important non-renewable strategic resource and a key element of various functional materials in the high-tech field. It is widely used in smart equipment, electric vehicles, defense industry, cutting-edge manufacturing, and other fields. With the continuous development of global manufacturing, the strategic position of rare-earth resources is expected to increase significantly.

W is a rare metal. The metal and its alloys are very versatile. They are one of the most important functional materials in modern industry, national defense, and high-tech applications. They are mainly used in aerospace, atomic energy, shipbuilding, automobile industry, electrical industry, and electronics. It is also used as a raw material for casting ingredients in many fields such as industry and chemical industry.

According to the announcement, in 2020, the tungsten carbide weight national total REO mining control index is 140,000 tons, of which the rock-type REO (mainly light rare earths) index is 120,850 tons, and the ionic REO (mainly medium and heavy rare earths) the index is 19,150 tons. The national tungsten concentrate (65% W trioxide content) total mining control index is 105,000 tons, of which the main mining index is 78,150 tons and the comprehensive utilization index is 26,850 tons.

The notice requires that the relevant provincial natural resources, industry and informatization authorities should strictly follow the regulations and do a good job of dismantling and issuing indicators. After decomposing and issuing the total mines mining control indicators, the provincial-level natural resources authority shall organize the municipal and county-level natural tungsten carbide burrs resources authority to sign a responsibility letter with the mining enterprise to clarify rights, obligations, and liabilities for breach of contract.

Local natural resource authorities at all levels should organize mining rights holders to earnestly implement the rare earths mines monthly report and tungsten mine quarterly report system, and carry out direct online reporting in a timely, accurate, and standardized manner. Local natural resources authorities at all levels and industry and informatization authorities should strengthen communication and coordination, cooperate closely, share information, and work together to supervise and manage the total amount of rare earth or tungsten ore mining control indicators.

US Wants to Get Rid of Its China's Rare Earth Dependency

The US Department of Defense has just promised to provide funding for two rare earth separation plants. It's one small step towards the Trump administration's stated goal of breaking the country's dependence on China's supplies of critical minerals. But the direct involvement of the Pentagon underlines the scale of the task associated with creating from scratch a non-Chinese supply chain.

Last year, the United States relied almost entirely on imports of compounds and rare metals. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), China remains the largest supplier of rare metals, providing about 80% of all imports.

The United States currently produces rare earths at the Mountain Pass mine in California. The mine was acquired by MP Materials in 2017 after filing for bankruptcy. The latter is an investment vehicle supported by US funds JHL Capital Group and QVT Financial.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the mine produced 26,000 tons of light rare earth oxides last year, accounting for 12% of global production. Chinese dominance of the first stage of the global chain is weakening, partly due to the return of Mountain Pass and partly due to a displacement of highly-polluting heavy rare earths mining from China to Myanmar, which last year produced 22,000 tonnes of concentrate

However, except Australia's Lynas Corp (LYC.AX), almost all processing capacity in the world is under Chinese control. What's currently mined at Mountain Pass gets shipped to China to be upgraded into compounds and products which are then shipped back to the United States.

MP Materials is one of three companies selected to receive direct government funding to build a separation plant, but the funding was approved after a review of its Chinese shareholder Shenghe Resources. Lynas, meanwhile, is teaming up with Texas-based Blue Line on a heavy rare earths separation plant.

The United States basically does not have the capacity to produce neodymium iron boron magnets. This is the most common end use of rare earths. As the global automotive industry shifts to the production of electric vehicles, the application of neodymium magnets is expected to grow exponentially.

According to Le Roux, the establishment of a complete industrial chain from minerals to neodymium magnets requires the support of customers and the government. The power of the market is the reason for the closure of MP and the withdrawal of the US from the rare earth industry.

The role of market forces is very unfavorable for the reconstruction of domestic production capacity in the United States. Auto companies often choose lower-priced Chinese neodymium magnets instead of higher-priced emerging European and American peers based on interest and cost considerations.

Le Roux said that the key takeaway is that the Japanese have a different approach to the supply chain - they put a higher value on the stability of supply.

Le Roux pointed out that the important revelation of this experience is that Japan "adopts a different approach to the supply chain - they pay more attention to supply stability." The United States is still Cemented Carbide Tips trying to catch up, and the US Department of Defense is authorized to directly invest in the separation of rare earth production capacity.

The United States is also learning that it's going to need allies if it is to regain some control of the rare earths sector. "I think it is clear at this stage that if you want to build a supply chain outside China, there will have to be cooperation between countries," said Ian Higgins, managing director of UK neodymium producer Less Common Metals, also talking to Argus. It's clear that if it is it going to fill its domestic magnet-making void it will need Japanese help.

The US has been busy building potential alliances with both Australia and Canada across a range of rare minerals to break its China's rare earth dependency. It's Carbide Rods Single Hole pretty clear that if it is it going to fill its domestic magnet-making void it will need Japanese help.

China Tungsten Price Maintained Stability Due to Weak Demand

Analysis of latest tungsten market from Chinatungsten Online

China tungsten price maintained stability in the week ended on Thursday June 25, 2020 because insiders still worried about the consumption of downstream under the impact of coronavirus. In the short term, they mainly take a watchful stance to avoid the market risks. 

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The tungsten concentrate market was in a stalemate. Manufacturers were reluctant to cut prices with the support of high costs, but the terminal side was weak and transactions were difficult to be concluded. In the APT market, smelting factories faced a deadlocked situation. The raw material side kept firm while the demand was weak. Therefore, factories remained low operating rate. As for the tungsten powder market, orders from downstream alloy and product market were at a relatively level. Factories were not willing to take goods with heavy wait-and-see atmosphere. Now insiders pay attention to the demand side and the recovery in the economy.

Prices of tungsten products on Jun. 29, 2020

Picture of tungsten trioxide 

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