Beijing: China says it will limit its total output of rare earth oxides at 93,800 tonnes this year, up 5 per cent from last year. China, which produces most of the world's rare earths, slashed export quotas this year in a move that caused alarm around the world as these ores are utilised in the production of high-tech appliances and strategic industries.
Beijing argued it had limited export as it wished to develop domestic producers of high-tech goods that use rare earths instead of exporting raw ores.
Yesterday's announcement by the country's land and resources ministry made no mention of restoring slashed export quotas.
In a statement posted on its website on Thursday the ministry said it would not approve any new prospecting or production licenses for rare earths, tungsten or antimony until 30 June 2012.
Producing 97 per cent of global rare earth supplies, China holds a stranglehold over the production of a range of elements used in cell phone handsets, hybrid car batteries as well as a range of high-tech items such as wind turbines and weapons guidance systems.
Early on in the year, Beijing slashed export quotas by 35 per cent for the first half of 2011, a decision that choked global supplies and drove prices to record highs. It caused particular alarm in nations such as Japan which thrive in the production of high technology items.