Feeds

Tree-hugging Chinese throttle rare earth production

Think of the planet, man…

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Bad news for the technology supply chain – China has decided to cut back on its mining of the rare earth minerals essential to the production of a vast range of hi-tech kit.

Deputy IT minister, Su Bo, reportedly told an industry seminar in Xiamen that the decision was taken because China now wants to promote sustainability in its mining practices (cough, splutter).

However, in a week that saw the US agree to export 46 high-tech products to China to encourage a level playing field between the two countries, many will see the Chinese stance as anti-competitive and protectionist in the extreme.

The European Union, Japan and the US have already complained to the World Trade Organisation several times over China’s export restrictions on the materials.

The problem boils down to the fact that China has a 97 per cent global share of the rare earths, which are essential to the production of a range of tech kit from hard drives to LED, LCD and plasma displays.

Critics have argued that China is deliberately making exports of the materials scarce to drive up costs and force manufacturers to locate their production plants within its borders, closer to source.

China’s state-run CNTV reported that the authorities have suspended the issuing of new mining licenses and imposed production caps in a bid to cut down on large scale mining in the sector.

"We have never asked any company to set the price we want. Prices of over 97 per cent of our rare earth products are market oriented," Su is quoted as saying.

"Rational exploitation of rare earth should meet environmental standards, and follow a sustainable growth path, not large-scale mining activities. Improper exploitation will also undermine the value of rare earth."

Whether this latest tactic - playing the green card - will work as the WTO considers what action to take, remains to be seen.

However, the whole technology industry would certainly sleep a little better at night if some new deposits of rare earth minerals were found outside of China. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.