Rare earth elements. China has warned that the decline in its rare earth reserves in major mining areas is 'accelerating', as most of the original resources are depleted. BBC

20 June 2012 (BBC) – China has warned that the decline in its rare earth reserves in major mining areas is "accelerating", as most of the original resources are depleted.

In a policy paper, China's cabinet blamed excessive exploitation and illegal mining for the decline.

China accounts for more than 90% of the world's rare earth supplies, but has just 23% of global reserves.

It has urged those with reserves to boost production of the elements, which are used to make electrical goods.

"After more than 50 years of excessive mining, China's rare earth reserves have kept declining and the years of guaranteed rare earth supply have been reducing," China's cabinet said in the paper on the rare earth industry published by the official Xinhua news agency. […]

But China has imposed export quotas on these elements. It says it has done so to prevent excessive mining of these elements, which also causes damage to the environment.

The US, Japan, and the European Union have called the quotas illegal and dragged Beijing to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the matter. […]

China warns its rare earth reserves are declining via The Oil Drum

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