China considering pollution rules for rare earth production

China’s industry ministry is considering regulations to tighten pollution standards for rare earth producers, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday, a move the country’s top firm said might further raise export prices.

Yang Wanxi, a government adviser involved in preparing the new regulations, said a draft had been filed with the Ministry of Industry and Information, aiming to force producers to upgrade production techniques, Xinhua said.

China, which accounts for 97 percent of global output of the elements used in high-tech devices, wind mills, batteries and some weaponry, strictly controls their trade and this year reduced export quotas by 40 percent from 2009 levels, triggering a spike in prices.

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