[SMM article] at a glance at the release of rare earths around the world, we can see why rare earths have become a hot topic of discussion under trade frictions.-Shanghai Metals Market

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[SMM article] at a glance at the release of rare earths around the world, we can see why rare earths have become a hot topic of discussion under trade frictions.

Translation 02:07:23PM Jul 30, 2019 Source:SMM
The content below was translated by Tencent automatically for reference.

SMM7, 29 March: China is a large reserve of rare earth resources in the world, which is not only rich in reserves, but also has the advantages of complete minerals and rare earth elements, high rare earth grade and reasonable distribution of ore spots, which has laid a solid foundation for the development of China's rare earth industry. The metallogenic conditions of rare earth resources in China are very favorable, the type of deposit is single, and the distribution is wide and relatively concentrated. By the end of 2016, China had reserves of 44 million tons of rare earth resources, accounting for 37 percent of the world's total reserves of rare earth resources, an obvious advantage over other countries. With the exception of China, Brazil has 17 per cent of the world's rare earth reserves. More than 80% of rare earths are produced in China, which is currently the main producer of rare earths in the world. In recent years, China accounts for more than 80% of the global production of rare earths. Because of this, at a time when trade frictions between China and the United States are heating up, whether rare earths should be used as a sword to fight back against the United States has become a hot topic of global debate.

Distribution of rare earths in China

The main rare earth resources in China are distributed in Inner Mongolia, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guangxi, Sichuan, Shandong and other places. In the discovery of Baiyunebo iron ore at the same time, geologists also found that Baiyunebo iron ore is also rich in rare earth ore, Baiyunebo discovered rare earth ore, geologists began to explore the geological situation in China.

According to the existing data, the super-large Bayan Obo iron-niobium rare earth deposit was discovered in the early 1950s, the weathered leaching type (lithium ion adsorption) rare earth deposit in Jiangxi and Guangdong was discovered in the mid-1960s, the Weishan rare earth deposit in Shandong Province was discovered in the early 1970s, and the "yak Niuping" large rare earth deposit in Liangshan, Sichuan Province was discovered in the mid-1980s. These discoveries and geological exploration results provide the most reliable resource guarantee for the development of rare earth industry in China. It also shows that rare earth ore resources in China have the basic characteristics of good metallogenic conditions, wide distribution and many genetic types of ore deposits, great potential of resources, high content of valuable elements, maximum value of comprehensive utilization and so on.

Up to now, geologists have found thousands of ore deposits and mineralization areas in more than 2/3 provinces (regions) in China. In addition to Baiyun Obo in Inner Mongolia, southern Jiangxi, northern Guangdong, and Liangshan in Sichuan, rare earth deposits have been found in Shandong, Hunan, Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou, Fujian, Zhejiang, Hubei, Henan, Shanxi, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Xinjiang and other provinces. However, the amount of resources is much less than that in the areas where mineralization is concentrated and concentrated. 98% of the total rare earth resources in China are distributed in Inner Mongolia, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Sichuan, Shandong and other areas, forming a north-south east-west distribution pattern, and has the distribution characteristics of heavy in the south and light in the north.

Light rare earths are mainly distributed in Baiyun Obo mining area in Baotou, Inner Mongolia. Its rare earth reserves account for more than 83% of the total rare earth reserves in China, ranking first in the world. It is the main production base of light rare earths in China.

Ionic medium and heavy rare earths are mainly distributed in southern areas such as Ganzhou in Jiangxi Province and Longyan in Fujian Province, especially in Nanling area, where ion adsorption medium rare earth and heavy rare earth minerals are easy to mine and extract. It has become an important production base of medium and heavy rare earths in China. Although China is rich in rare earth resources, due to the large number of exports over the past years and rampant illegal exploitation, rare earth reserves have declined significantly, especially in medium and heavy rare earths.

In addition to the huge number of rare earth reserves in Baiyun Obo, China is also rich in rare earth deposits such as Liangshan rare earth mine in Sichuan and Weishan rare earth mine in seven provinces in the south of Shandong Province.

Forms of existence of rare earth elements

Rare earth elements mainly exist in the earth's crust in three states. The first is as the basic component of minerals. Rare earths occur in the form of ionic compounds in the lattice of minerals to form the essential components of minerals. These minerals are commonly referred to as rare earth minerals, monazite, and fluorocarbon cerite. The second is the impurity elements as minerals, in the form of isomorphism replacement, scattered in rock-forming minerals and rare metal minerals, which can be called minerals containing rare earth elements, such as apatite and fluorite. The third is that it is adsorbed on the surface or between the particles of some minerals in the state of ion. These minerals are mainly clay minerals, mica minerals and such minerals are easy to extract.

In addition to China, the world has rare earth resources such as Russia, Kyrgyzstan, the United States, Australia, India, Zaire and so on. The main rare earth minerals are fluorocarbon cerite, ion adsorption ore, monazite, yttrium phosphate, black gold, apatite, cerium niobium perovskite and so on. The main countries for mining and mineral processing production are China, the United States, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, India, Brazil, Malaysia and so on.

Six rare earth groups

Chinalco, CHALCO) is a state-owned enterprise (also known as central enterprise) directly supervised and managed by the State-owned assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council. It is the largest alumina producer in China, the second largest alumina producer in the world, and the largest primary aluminum producer in China.

China North rare Earth (Group) High-tech Co., Ltd. is the largest rare earth production, scientific research and trade base in China and even in the world, and is the leading enterprise in China's rare earth industry. The company was founded in 1961 and listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 1997. By the end of 2014, the total assets of the company were 17.086 billion yuan and the net assets were 8.304 billion yuan.

Xiamen Tungsten Industry Co., Ltd. is a group joint-stock company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. It is mainly engaged in the research, development, production and sales of tungsten smelting products, tungsten powder, cemented carbide, tungsten-molybdenum wire, new energy materials, etc. It is the largest production and export enterprise of tungsten and molybdenum products in China. At the same time, it is also a national key high-tech enterprises, the first batch of demonstration enterprises for the development of circular economy in Fujian Province, the most competitive listed companies in Fujian Province and the "top ten most growing listed companies" in China.

China Minmetals Group Co., Ltd., founded in 1950, is a large enterprise group mainly engaged in the development, production, trade and comprehensive services of metals and mineral products, concurrently engaged in financial, real estate and logistics business, and carries out global operation. It is now under the direct supervision of the State assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.

According to the overall plan and deployment of the State Council, the Guangdong rare Earth Group will, in accordance with the principle of marketization, be mainly responsible for the integration of rare earth resources and the joint reorganization of enterprises in and out of Guangdong Province. Guangdong rare Earth Group, established in February 2012, is a large rare earth group established with the consent of the Guangdong Provincial Government and relying on Guangdong Guangsheng Asset Management Co., Ltd. According to public information, the group has 12 integrated enterprises in Guangdong Province, 6 rare earth resources and mining enterprises, 1 enterprise for comprehensive utilization of rare earth resources, 4 enterprises for deep processing and application of rare earths, and 1 rare earth R & D enterprise.

South China rare Earth Group Co., Ltd., led by Ganzhou rare Earth Group, is jointly funded by Jiangxi Copper Group and Jiangxi rare Metal Tungsten holding Group Co., Ltd. The main project is the investment, management and authorized operation and management of state-owned assets in the rare earth industry.

By the end of 2016, the six major rare earth groups have been established, and each group has basically realized the omni-directional layout of resource exploitation, smelting separation, processing and application, and technology research and development. According to the rare earth total control plan announced by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in the past three years, the total production of mineral products and smelting separated products of the six rare earth groups accounted for 99.89% and 99.57% of the national total control plan, respectively.

Rare Earth processing Enterprises currently existing in China

There are about 150 rare earth smelting and separation enterprises under the six rare earth groups, and the major rare earth groups will continue to merge and integrate small enterprises through asset reorganization, which will greatly improve the situation of scattered and small rare earth smelting and separation enterprises in China, and play an important role in stabilizing rare earth supply, balancing market demand and protecting the environment.

The rare earth smelting and separation enterprises in Inner Mongolia are mainly concentrated in Baotou area. There are nearly 20 rare earth enterprises, 1 main rare earth mining enterprise, 1 rare earth mineral processing enterprise and 16 smelting enterprises. As the main body of the development of the largest rare earth resources in China, Inner Mongolia rare Earth High Technology is the largest rare earth mineral product production and rare earth smelting and processing enterprise in China. "rare Earth High Technology" has rare earth production processes from rare earth mineral processing to rare earth smelting, separation, electrolytic metal and rare earth deep processing, and has an annual production capacity of 80,000 tons of rare earth concentrate. can produce rare earth concentrate, a variety of mixed and single rare earth compounds, battery-grade mixed rare earth metals and a variety of single rare earth metals and other rare earth application products 64 varieties more than 130 specifications.

Southern rare Earth Group has 55 mining enterprises in Jiangxi and 4 rare earth smelting and separation enterprises in Jiangxi. Ganzhou rare Earth Mining Co., Ltd. was established on December 29, 2004. The company is responsible for the unified mining of rare earth mineral resources in Ganzhou, the unified management of rare earth mine production, the unified management of rare earth mineral products, as well as the rare earth industry to attract investment and foreign cooperation. The products are mainly medium and heavy rare earths. Ganzhou Municipal Government took the lead in raising about 1.8 billion yuan to integrate rare earth mining enterprises in the region and carry out rare earth mineral product reserves.

At present, there are 8 rare earth mine smelting and separation enterprises in Sichuan Province, of which 2 or 3 are of a certain scale. Most of the enterprises are small and have two rare earth mining enterprises. In 2009, Jiangxi Copper Group and Sichuan Mining jointly established Sichuan Jiangtong rare Earth Co., Ltd., to develop the Niuping Mine in Mianning County, Sichuan Province, where rare earth reserves are estimated at 1.57 million tons. Jiangxi Copper spent 430 million yuan in June 2008 to win the mining right of 2.94 square kilometers of yak Niuping rare earth mine. Before that, there were 108 rare earth mining, mineral processing and smelting separation enterprises in Mianning area of Sichuan Province, which are very scattered and the phenomenon of excessive mining and excessive excavation is prominent, which is not conducive to the full utilization of resources and pollutes the environment.

In Guangdong Province, Guangsheng Nonferrous Metals Group has integrated rare earth mines and rare earth enterprises in Guangdong Province, becoming the only enterprise in Guangdong Province to legally develop rare earth mines.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in the first half of this year, rare earths are products that the state strictly implements the control and management of the total amount of mining and smelting separation, and no unit or individual may produce rare earths without planning or over-planning. The total amount control plan for the first batch of rare earth mining and smelting separation in 2019 will be issued by the end of June 2019 according to 50 per cent of the 2018 target, which will be issued by the end of June 2019, taking into account market demand and the implementation of various groups.

Major rare earth mines in the world

According to public information,

(Mountain Pass) rare Earth Mine in the United States of America

The (Mountain Pass) rare earth mine is located on the edge of the Mojave Desert in southwestern California. In 1949, two prospectors accidentally discovered the local ore when they sent the local ore as uranium samples to the United States Geological Survey for testing. Subsequently, large-scale geological surveys and exploration were carried out to gradually discover this world-class light rare earth deposit. The rare earth deposit is composed of carbonate minerals (calcite, dolomite, phosphate iron ore, iron dolomite), sulfate minerals (barite, celestite), fluorocarbon cerite and silicate minerals (quartz). The rare earth minerals are mainly fluorocarbon cerite. At present, the mine has 50 million tons of ore reserves, an average grade of 8% to 9% of rare earth oxides, and 4.3 million tons of rare earth oxides. The Muntinpashi rare earth mine was put into production in 1952 and was a major supplier to the world rare earth market in the mid-1960s and 1980s, when its rare earth products accounted for 40 per cent of the global market in 1990. later, the supply gradually decreased with the extensive development of rare earth mines in China, and stopped mining after the completion of the last mining activity in 2002, but has been selling stocks of fluorocarbon cerium concentrate and light rare earth oxides. The mine also has a supporting rare earth mineral processing and separation plant, with an annual production capacity of 20000 tons of rare earth oxides. The separation plant was shut down in 1998 due to substandard wastewater treatment facilities, but the rare earth separation plant was reopened in the fourth quarter of 2007, and the mine was re-selected in 2009 for the treatment of sealed fluorocarbon cerite concentrate.

(Bear Lodge) of Benojie rare Earth Mine in the United States

The Benojie (Bear Lodge) rare earth mine is located in the north-central section of the Benojie Mountains, northwest of Wyoming. Benojie Mountain, located near the north-south direction of the alkaline volcanic belt of the East Rocky Mountains, is an important gold producing area in the United States and was regarded as a potential area for gold exploration in the early 20th century. The rare earth deposit in this area was discovered in 1949 and then reported by the United States Geological Survey in 1953. In 1972, (Duval) of Deval Company began to carry out exploration activities in Benojie area, the exploration target is the porphyry copper-molybdenum deposit, but the rare earth deposit of economic value was discovered in the later stage. From 1987 to 1991, the exploration work of (Hecla) of Hecla Mining Company delineated 4.3 million tons of rare earth resources in this area, and the average grade of rare earths was 3.79% (not in accordance with NI43-101 standard). In 2003, (Rare Elements ResourcesLtd.), a rare element resources company, acquired 100% of the mining rights in the area through its subsidiaries, carried out exploration and smelting studies for rare earth deposits in the area from 2004 to 2008, and published a technical report on reserves in accordance with the NI43-101 standard in April 2009. Based on the exploration data of rare earth deposits in this area, 1.5%REO is used as the boundary grade. At present, the inferred resources in this area are 9.8 million tons, including 4.56 million tons in the oxidation zone, 5.26 million tons in the transition zone and non-oxidation zone, and the average grade of rare earth oxides is 4.1%. Equivalent to 363000 tons of rare earth metals. The Benojie rare earth orebody occurs in the carbonate vein group or carbonate dyke, and the surface oxidation zone is about 90 to 180 meters thick, which is mainly composed of weathered rock bodies containing iron, manganese oxide and rare earth oxide. Rare earth elements are mainly found in phosphate chromium ore, fluorocarbon cerite and fluorophosphate calcium cerite and other minerals. The rare earths are mainly light rare earths, in which lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium and samarium account for about 98% of the total rare earths. Different from other rare earth deposits, because the rare earth bearing carbonate dikes occur in the alkaline complex with multi-stage evolution, the rare earth deposits in Benojie area are surrounded by gold mineralization of certain scale, economic significance and related to alkaline rocks. At present, rare element resources companies are carrying out separation and smelting experiments for different types of ores.

(Thor Lake) of Toll Lake rare Earth Mine, Canada

The Toll Lake (Thor Lake) rare earth deposit is located in the McKinsey mining area in the Northwest Territory of Canada, 5 km east of Lake Sleau and 100km from the capital of the State of the Northwest Territory, Yeronnev. Initially, the Canadian Geological Survey carried out geological mapping in the area from 1937 to 1938. In 1976, when (Highwood Resources Ltd.) carried out uranium exploration in this area, large-scale mineralization of rare metals and rare earths was discovered, and then some mining companies carried out exploration activities on and off. In 2005, (Avalon Rare ElementsInc.), an Avalon rare metals company, acquired a 100 per cent interest in the nursery lake rare earth project. While resampling and analyzing previous drilling samples, a new round of exploration activities and small-scale metallurgical tests were carried out from 2007 to 2008. At present, within the area of 42 square kilometers of the Toll Lake rare Earth Project, six rare-rare earth metal mining areas have been delineated and enriched in rare earth, yttrium, tantalum, niobium and zirconium. Among them, there are two mining areas with high degree of exploration: Lake area and T area. Rare earth-rare metal orebodies occur in the secondary alteration zones of alkaline syenite and granite, and the ore minerals include yttrium niobite, zircon, limonite, monazite and fluorocarbon cerite. In 2008, Avalon rare Metals Company commissioned Wardrop Engineering Consulting Company to summarize the exploration data in Lake area and compile the resource evaluation report in accordance with NI43-101 standard. According to the estimation report released in March 2009, with 1.6%REO as the boundary grade, the Lake area has control + inferred grade resources of 65.21 million tons, the average grade of rare earth oxides is 2.05%, and the equivalent amount of rare earth metals is 1.33 million tons, of which heavy rare earth oxides account for about 15% of the total rare earth oxides. Avalon rare Metals has been approved for the environmental impact assessment of the Toll Lake project and has commissioned relevant consulting firms to carry out the project environmental impact assessment, which is expected to complete the pre-feasibility study in 2009-2010.

(Hoidas Lake) of Lake Huoyidas rare Earth Mine, Canada

The Hoyidas Lake (Hoidas Lake) rare earth deposit is located 50 kilometers north of the uranium city in northern Saskatchewan, Canada. In the 1950s, the area was explored as a corner of the rare earth production workshop for uranium deposits, and it was not until 1999 that rare earth deposits were discovered in the area. Currently, (GreatWestern Minerals Group Ltd.), a Canadian western minerals company, has a 100 per cent interest in the area. By the first half of 2008, Daxi Minerals had constructed about 15000 meters of drilling, revealing that the orebody was more than 1000 meters long, with a dip depth of more than 350m and a thickness of 3 to 12m, and that both ends of the orebody and deep extension were not closed. Rare earth metals are mainly found in apatite, epidote and other minerals. In 2007, Daxi Minerals commissioned Wardrop Engineering Consulting to carry out a pre-feasibility study on the Huoyidas rare earth project. According to the drilling data at the end of 2007, with 1.5%REO as the boundary grade, the project has obtained 1.15 million tons of proven + control grade resources, an average grade of 2.36% REO, an inferred grade of 370000 tons, an average grade of 2.15% REO, and a total of 35000 tons of rare earth oxide metals (in accordance with the NI43-101 standard). Daxi Minerals plans to complete the feasibility study and environmental impact assessment report in 2009, start engineering design and construction in 2010-2011, put into production in 2012, and process 500 tons of ore per design day, with a mine life of 20 years. Unlike other raw material mining companies, Daxi Minerals operates a business model from mine products to rare earth terminal products, with rare earth processing plants in the United Kingdom and the United States to produce alloy powder and samarium cobalt magnets for nickel-hydrogen batteries.

(Mt Weld) of Weldshan rare Earth Mine, Australia

The Weldshan (Mt Weld) rare earth deposit is located 35 kilometers south of the town of Leverton, Western Australia. The rare earth orebody in this area is in the weathered circular carbonate body, the rare earth minerals are mainly false monazite, accompanied by tantalum, niobium and other rare metals. The Weiershan circular carbonate structure was discovered in 1966 when aeromagnetic survey was carried out. Subsequently, a number of mining companies carried out exploration activities of different scales in the area. The target minerals are phosphorus, rare earths, tantalum, niobium and uranium. In 2000, (Lynas Corporation), an Australian Lehner company, acquired an interest in the Weldshan mine, and carried out supplementary exploration, resource evaluation and ore separation and smelting tests for rare earths and rare metals in Weldshan from 2002 to 2008. According to the data published on Reiner's website, with 4%REO as the boundary grade, the central rare earth area of Welder Mountain has a total of 6.2 million tons of resources of proven + control grade, 1.5 million tons of inferred grade resources, 11.9 percent of the average grade of rare earth oxides, and 920000 tons of rare earth metals. In 2008, Reiner commissioned the Australian Mine Design and Development Company to design and optimize open pit mining in the central rare earth area of Mount Wilder, and carried out the first phase of mining activities in June 2008, with a total of 770000 tons of ore produced with an average grade of 15.4%REO. Lehner plans to build a concentrator at the Weldshan mine to select 40%REO concentrate for smelting at the rare earth separation plant in Guantan, Malaysia. The first phase of the rare earth separation plant is designed to produce 10500 tons of rare earth oxides per year, and the second phase is expanded to 21000 tons per year. However, due to the financial crisis, resulting in the financing failure of Lehner Company, the current concentrator and separation plant project construction has been shelved.

(Nolans) of Nolan rare Earth Mine, Australia

The Nolan (Nolans) rare earth deposit is located 130km north of Alice Prius, the northern state of Australia. The deposit not only contains rare earth ore, but also associated with phosphorus and uranium. The orebody occurs in the metamorphosed granite body, which is flat in plane, inclined to NWW, with an inclination of 65 to 90 degrees and a thickness of 75 meters. The ore minerals are mainly thorium-rich monazite and fluorine-containing apatite. The deposit is an Australian listed company, Alafra Resources Co., Ltd.

Black rare earth

The state has been saddened by the loss of rare earth resources for a long time. As early as the 1980s, under the background of the high demand for rare earths from Japan, South Korea, Western Europe, and North America, some private enterprises without mining certificates entered the rare earth market one after another, and the rare earth market was out of control. A large number of mining led to an oversupply of rare earth resources, and the cost of unlicensed mining enterprises was low, and the cost of certified mining enterprises was high. Bad money drives good money, so that the interests of the industry are damaged. On the other hand, because of the imbalance of production and marketing in the rare earth industry, it is difficult to dominate the pricing power of rare earth products in the international market, which directly harms the national interests. In addition, because of the scarcity of rare earth resources, foreign countries have established a very mature strategic storage system of rare earth resources. In China, on the other hand, in some places where government regulation fails, there are still "black mines" that exploit rare earth resources in large quantities for short-term benefits. Therefore, in this context, the integration of the six rare earths is particularly necessary. On the one hand, its successful establishment is conducive to improving the concentration of the rare earth industry, conducive to government supervision, on the other hand, it can strengthen the rational allocation of resources in our country. Further industrial and technological upgrading.

The State's Policy of cracking down on "Black rare Earths" in recent years

In the context of the continuous flow of black rare earths to the market, the state has also been cracking down on its policy of coming out of Taiwan in recent years. The following is a list of the government's recent policy of cracking down on "black rare earths" in Taiwan.

In September 2018, Jiangxi Province issued a letter on organizing a special action to crack down on rare earth violations, and a special action to crack down on rare earth violations was carried out from September 2018 to January 2019. September to October 2018 is the self-examination stage, November to December is the special supervision stage, and January 2019 is the notification processing stage.

In October 2018, eight ministries and commissions, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the National Development and Reform Commission, issued a notice to jointly launch special inspectors of the rare earth industry in eight provinces and cities, including the main producing areas of rare earths, to further rectify the order of the rare earth industry. The member units of the inter-ministerial coordination mechanism for rare metals are scheduled to organize special supervision and inspection of the order rectification of the rare earth industry from October 30 to November 30. The scope of supervision and inspection includes Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Sichuan and other eight provinces (regions).

November 2018 Jiangsu: local Standard "radioactive exemption requirements for rare Earth smelting waste residue" implemented on November 1, 2018

Mianning County Environmental Protection Bureau: comprehensive Supervision and Inspection of rare Earth Mining and selection Enterprises

January 12, 2019: serious handling of illegal enterprises such as reselling illegal rare earth minerals

Twelve member units of the inter-ministerial coordination mechanism for rare metals, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Natural Resources, jointly issued the Circular on continuously strengthening the order rectification of the rare Earth Industry

Circular on continuously strengthening the order rectification of rare Earth Industry issued by Dehong Natural Resources and Planning Bureau

A number of rare earth products / projects / processes are listed, and the National Development and Reform Commission has issued the guidance catalogue for Industrial structure Adjustment (2019 version, draft for soliciting opinions).

Environmental problems in rare Earth Mining

Illegal mining is easy to cause environmental problems, for our country, this problem is particularly thorny, because of the previous years of regulatory problems, rare earth practitioners have a low threshold, resulting in large and small enterprises, the phenomenon of illegal mining still can not be put an end to.

In the process of separation and enrichment of rare earth ores, strong acids such as sulfuric acid need to be used, and many rare earth ores also contain fluorine elements, so the pollution of slag is very large. The treatment of these slag is not small, at present, the main way is stacking. At Baotou Steel, for example, the tailings already cover an area of more than 10 square kilometers.

The pollution problem may be even more serious in the south, because ionic mines are mainly treated by leaching, which will inevitably lead to pollutants entering the groundwater system, and long-term exploitation, resulting in loose soil quality, while in the hilly areas of the south, such consequences may lead to geological disasters such as landslides. However, it is precisely because our country has been mining in this area for a long time and has accumulated a lot of experience, so we have actually paid more attention to the control of pollution. Over the past decade or so, in view of the problem of pollution, whether policy or technology, have been greatly improved. The Mountain pass mine in the United States, in fact, was closed in 1998. At that time, considering environmental issues, it advised never to exploit it, but it was restarted under pressure from resources, and it caused a lot of controversy in the United States.

 

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[SMM article] at a glance at the release of rare earths around the world, we can see why rare earths have become a hot topic of discussion under trade frictions.

Translation 02:07:23PM Jul 30, 2019 Source:SMM
The content below was translated by Tencent automatically for reference.

SMM7, 29 March: China is a large reserve of rare earth resources in the world, which is not only rich in reserves, but also has the advantages of complete minerals and rare earth elements, high rare earth grade and reasonable distribution of ore spots, which has laid a solid foundation for the development of China's rare earth industry. The metallogenic conditions of rare earth resources in China are very favorable, the type of deposit is single, and the distribution is wide and relatively concentrated. By the end of 2016, China had reserves of 44 million tons of rare earth resources, accounting for 37 percent of the world's total reserves of rare earth resources, an obvious advantage over other countries. With the exception of China, Brazil has 17 per cent of the world's rare earth reserves. More than 80% of rare earths are produced in China, which is currently the main producer of rare earths in the world. In recent years, China accounts for more than 80% of the global production of rare earths. Because of this, at a time when trade frictions between China and the United States are heating up, whether rare earths should be used as a sword to fight back against the United States has become a hot topic of global debate.

Distribution of rare earths in China

The main rare earth resources in China are distributed in Inner Mongolia, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Guangxi, Sichuan, Shandong and other places. In the discovery of Baiyunebo iron ore at the same time, geologists also found that Baiyunebo iron ore is also rich in rare earth ore, Baiyunebo discovered rare earth ore, geologists began to explore the geological situation in China.

According to the existing data, the super-large Bayan Obo iron-niobium rare earth deposit was discovered in the early 1950s, the weathered leaching type (lithium ion adsorption) rare earth deposit in Jiangxi and Guangdong was discovered in the mid-1960s, the Weishan rare earth deposit in Shandong Province was discovered in the early 1970s, and the "yak Niuping" large rare earth deposit in Liangshan, Sichuan Province was discovered in the mid-1980s. These discoveries and geological exploration results provide the most reliable resource guarantee for the development of rare earth industry in China. It also shows that rare earth ore resources in China have the basic characteristics of good metallogenic conditions, wide distribution and many genetic types of ore deposits, great potential of resources, high content of valuable elements, maximum value of comprehensive utilization and so on.

Up to now, geologists have found thousands of ore deposits and mineralization areas in more than 2/3 provinces (regions) in China. In addition to Baiyun Obo in Inner Mongolia, southern Jiangxi, northern Guangdong, and Liangshan in Sichuan, rare earth deposits have been found in Shandong, Hunan, Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou, Fujian, Zhejiang, Hubei, Henan, Shanxi, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Xinjiang and other provinces. However, the amount of resources is much less than that in the areas where mineralization is concentrated and concentrated. 98% of the total rare earth resources in China are distributed in Inner Mongolia, Jiangxi, Guangdong, Sichuan, Shandong and other areas, forming a north-south east-west distribution pattern, and has the distribution characteristics of heavy in the south and light in the north.

Light rare earths are mainly distributed in Baiyun Obo mining area in Baotou, Inner Mongolia. Its rare earth reserves account for more than 83% of the total rare earth reserves in China, ranking first in the world. It is the main production base of light rare earths in China.

Ionic medium and heavy rare earths are mainly distributed in southern areas such as Ganzhou in Jiangxi Province and Longyan in Fujian Province, especially in Nanling area, where ion adsorption medium rare earth and heavy rare earth minerals are easy to mine and extract. It has become an important production base of medium and heavy rare earths in China. Although China is rich in rare earth resources, due to the large number of exports over the past years and rampant illegal exploitation, rare earth reserves have declined significantly, especially in medium and heavy rare earths.

In addition to the huge number of rare earth reserves in Baiyun Obo, China is also rich in rare earth deposits such as Liangshan rare earth mine in Sichuan and Weishan rare earth mine in seven provinces in the south of Shandong Province.

Forms of existence of rare earth elements

Rare earth elements mainly exist in the earth's crust in three states. The first is as the basic component of minerals. Rare earths occur in the form of ionic compounds in the lattice of minerals to form the essential components of minerals. These minerals are commonly referred to as rare earth minerals, monazite, and fluorocarbon cerite. The second is the impurity elements as minerals, in the form of isomorphism replacement, scattered in rock-forming minerals and rare metal minerals, which can be called minerals containing rare earth elements, such as apatite and fluorite. The third is that it is adsorbed on the surface or between the particles of some minerals in the state of ion. These minerals are mainly clay minerals, mica minerals and such minerals are easy to extract.

In addition to China, the world has rare earth resources such as Russia, Kyrgyzstan, the United States, Australia, India, Zaire and so on. The main rare earth minerals are fluorocarbon cerite, ion adsorption ore, monazite, yttrium phosphate, black gold, apatite, cerium niobium perovskite and so on. The main countries for mining and mineral processing production are China, the United States, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, India, Brazil, Malaysia and so on.

Six rare earth groups

Chinalco, CHALCO) is a state-owned enterprise (also known as central enterprise) directly supervised and managed by the State-owned assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council. It is the largest alumina producer in China, the second largest alumina producer in the world, and the largest primary aluminum producer in China.

China North rare Earth (Group) High-tech Co., Ltd. is the largest rare earth production, scientific research and trade base in China and even in the world, and is the leading enterprise in China's rare earth industry. The company was founded in 1961 and listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 1997. By the end of 2014, the total assets of the company were 17.086 billion yuan and the net assets were 8.304 billion yuan.

Xiamen Tungsten Industry Co., Ltd. is a group joint-stock company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. It is mainly engaged in the research, development, production and sales of tungsten smelting products, tungsten powder, cemented carbide, tungsten-molybdenum wire, new energy materials, etc. It is the largest production and export enterprise of tungsten and molybdenum products in China. At the same time, it is also a national key high-tech enterprises, the first batch of demonstration enterprises for the development of circular economy in Fujian Province, the most competitive listed companies in Fujian Province and the "top ten most growing listed companies" in China.

China Minmetals Group Co., Ltd., founded in 1950, is a large enterprise group mainly engaged in the development, production, trade and comprehensive services of metals and mineral products, concurrently engaged in financial, real estate and logistics business, and carries out global operation. It is now under the direct supervision of the State assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.

According to the overall plan and deployment of the State Council, the Guangdong rare Earth Group will, in accordance with the principle of marketization, be mainly responsible for the integration of rare earth resources and the joint reorganization of enterprises in and out of Guangdong Province. Guangdong rare Earth Group, established in February 2012, is a large rare earth group established with the consent of the Guangdong Provincial Government and relying on Guangdong Guangsheng Asset Management Co., Ltd. According to public information, the group has 12 integrated enterprises in Guangdong Province, 6 rare earth resources and mining enterprises, 1 enterprise for comprehensive utilization of rare earth resources, 4 enterprises for deep processing and application of rare earths, and 1 rare earth R & D enterprise.

South China rare Earth Group Co., Ltd., led by Ganzhou rare Earth Group, is jointly funded by Jiangxi Copper Group and Jiangxi rare Metal Tungsten holding Group Co., Ltd. The main project is the investment, management and authorized operation and management of state-owned assets in the rare earth industry.

By the end of 2016, the six major rare earth groups have been established, and each group has basically realized the omni-directional layout of resource exploitation, smelting separation, processing and application, and technology research and development. According to the rare earth total control plan announced by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in the past three years, the total production of mineral products and smelting separated products of the six rare earth groups accounted for 99.89% and 99.57% of the national total control plan, respectively.

Rare Earth processing Enterprises currently existing in China

There are about 150 rare earth smelting and separation enterprises under the six rare earth groups, and the major rare earth groups will continue to merge and integrate small enterprises through asset reorganization, which will greatly improve the situation of scattered and small rare earth smelting and separation enterprises in China, and play an important role in stabilizing rare earth supply, balancing market demand and protecting the environment.

The rare earth smelting and separation enterprises in Inner Mongolia are mainly concentrated in Baotou area. There are nearly 20 rare earth enterprises, 1 main rare earth mining enterprise, 1 rare earth mineral processing enterprise and 16 smelting enterprises. As the main body of the development of the largest rare earth resources in China, Inner Mongolia rare Earth High Technology is the largest rare earth mineral product production and rare earth smelting and processing enterprise in China. "rare Earth High Technology" has rare earth production processes from rare earth mineral processing to rare earth smelting, separation, electrolytic metal and rare earth deep processing, and has an annual production capacity of 80,000 tons of rare earth concentrate. can produce rare earth concentrate, a variety of mixed and single rare earth compounds, battery-grade mixed rare earth metals and a variety of single rare earth metals and other rare earth application products 64 varieties more than 130 specifications.

Southern rare Earth Group has 55 mining enterprises in Jiangxi and 4 rare earth smelting and separation enterprises in Jiangxi. Ganzhou rare Earth Mining Co., Ltd. was established on December 29, 2004. The company is responsible for the unified mining of rare earth mineral resources in Ganzhou, the unified management of rare earth mine production, the unified management of rare earth mineral products, as well as the rare earth industry to attract investment and foreign cooperation. The products are mainly medium and heavy rare earths. Ganzhou Municipal Government took the lead in raising about 1.8 billion yuan to integrate rare earth mining enterprises in the region and carry out rare earth mineral product reserves.

At present, there are 8 rare earth mine smelting and separation enterprises in Sichuan Province, of which 2 or 3 are of a certain scale. Most of the enterprises are small and have two rare earth mining enterprises. In 2009, Jiangxi Copper Group and Sichuan Mining jointly established Sichuan Jiangtong rare Earth Co., Ltd., to develop the Niuping Mine in Mianning County, Sichuan Province, where rare earth reserves are estimated at 1.57 million tons. Jiangxi Copper spent 430 million yuan in June 2008 to win the mining right of 2.94 square kilometers of yak Niuping rare earth mine. Before that, there were 108 rare earth mining, mineral processing and smelting separation enterprises in Mianning area of Sichuan Province, which are very scattered and the phenomenon of excessive mining and excessive excavation is prominent, which is not conducive to the full utilization of resources and pollutes the environment.

In Guangdong Province, Guangsheng Nonferrous Metals Group has integrated rare earth mines and rare earth enterprises in Guangdong Province, becoming the only enterprise in Guangdong Province to legally develop rare earth mines.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in the first half of this year, rare earths are products that the state strictly implements the control and management of the total amount of mining and smelting separation, and no unit or individual may produce rare earths without planning or over-planning. The total amount control plan for the first batch of rare earth mining and smelting separation in 2019 will be issued by the end of June 2019 according to 50 per cent of the 2018 target, which will be issued by the end of June 2019, taking into account market demand and the implementation of various groups.

Major rare earth mines in the world

According to public information,

(Mountain Pass) rare Earth Mine in the United States of America

The (Mountain Pass) rare earth mine is located on the edge of the Mojave Desert in southwestern California. In 1949, two prospectors accidentally discovered the local ore when they sent the local ore as uranium samples to the United States Geological Survey for testing. Subsequently, large-scale geological surveys and exploration were carried out to gradually discover this world-class light rare earth deposit. The rare earth deposit is composed of carbonate minerals (calcite, dolomite, phosphate iron ore, iron dolomite), sulfate minerals (barite, celestite), fluorocarbon cerite and silicate minerals (quartz). The rare earth minerals are mainly fluorocarbon cerite. At present, the mine has 50 million tons of ore reserves, an average grade of 8% to 9% of rare earth oxides, and 4.3 million tons of rare earth oxides. The Muntinpashi rare earth mine was put into production in 1952 and was a major supplier to the world rare earth market in the mid-1960s and 1980s, when its rare earth products accounted for 40 per cent of the global market in 1990. later, the supply gradually decreased with the extensive development of rare earth mines in China, and stopped mining after the completion of the last mining activity in 2002, but has been selling stocks of fluorocarbon cerium concentrate and light rare earth oxides. The mine also has a supporting rare earth mineral processing and separation plant, with an annual production capacity of 20000 tons of rare earth oxides. The separation plant was shut down in 1998 due to substandard wastewater treatment facilities, but the rare earth separation plant was reopened in the fourth quarter of 2007, and the mine was re-selected in 2009 for the treatment of sealed fluorocarbon cerite concentrate.

(Bear Lodge) of Benojie rare Earth Mine in the United States

The Benojie (Bear Lodge) rare earth mine is located in the north-central section of the Benojie Mountains, northwest of Wyoming. Benojie Mountain, located near the north-south direction of the alkaline volcanic belt of the East Rocky Mountains, is an important gold producing area in the United States and was regarded as a potential area for gold exploration in the early 20th century. The rare earth deposit in this area was discovered in 1949 and then reported by the United States Geological Survey in 1953. In 1972, (Duval) of Deval Company began to carry out exploration activities in Benojie area, the exploration target is the porphyry copper-molybdenum deposit, but the rare earth deposit of economic value was discovered in the later stage. From 1987 to 1991, the exploration work of (Hecla) of Hecla Mining Company delineated 4.3 million tons of rare earth resources in this area, and the average grade of rare earths was 3.79% (not in accordance with NI43-101 standard). In 2003, (Rare Elements ResourcesLtd.), a rare element resources company, acquired 100% of the mining rights in the area through its subsidiaries, carried out exploration and smelting studies for rare earth deposits in the area from 2004 to 2008, and published a technical report on reserves in accordance with the NI43-101 standard in April 2009. Based on the exploration data of rare earth deposits in this area, 1.5%REO is used as the boundary grade. At present, the inferred resources in this area are 9.8 million tons, including 4.56 million tons in the oxidation zone, 5.26 million tons in the transition zone and non-oxidation zone, and the average grade of rare earth oxides is 4.1%. Equivalent to 363000 tons of rare earth metals. The Benojie rare earth orebody occurs in the carbonate vein group or carbonate dyke, and the surface oxidation zone is about 90 to 180 meters thick, which is mainly composed of weathered rock bodies containing iron, manganese oxide and rare earth oxide. Rare earth elements are mainly found in phosphate chromium ore, fluorocarbon cerite and fluorophosphate calcium cerite and other minerals. The rare earths are mainly light rare earths, in which lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium and samarium account for about 98% of the total rare earths. Different from other rare earth deposits, because the rare earth bearing carbonate dikes occur in the alkaline complex with multi-stage evolution, the rare earth deposits in Benojie area are surrounded by gold mineralization of certain scale, economic significance and related to alkaline rocks. At present, rare element resources companies are carrying out separation and smelting experiments for different types of ores.

(Thor Lake) of Toll Lake rare Earth Mine, Canada

The Toll Lake (Thor Lake) rare earth deposit is located in the McKinsey mining area in the Northwest Territory of Canada, 5 km east of Lake Sleau and 100km from the capital of the State of the Northwest Territory, Yeronnev. Initially, the Canadian Geological Survey carried out geological mapping in the area from 1937 to 1938. In 1976, when (Highwood Resources Ltd.) carried out uranium exploration in this area, large-scale mineralization of rare metals and rare earths was discovered, and then some mining companies carried out exploration activities on and off. In 2005, (Avalon Rare ElementsInc.), an Avalon rare metals company, acquired a 100 per cent interest in the nursery lake rare earth project. While resampling and analyzing previous drilling samples, a new round of exploration activities and small-scale metallurgical tests were carried out from 2007 to 2008. At present, within the area of 42 square kilometers of the Toll Lake rare Earth Project, six rare-rare earth metal mining areas have been delineated and enriched in rare earth, yttrium, tantalum, niobium and zirconium. Among them, there are two mining areas with high degree of exploration: Lake area and T area. Rare earth-rare metal orebodies occur in the secondary alteration zones of alkaline syenite and granite, and the ore minerals include yttrium niobite, zircon, limonite, monazite and fluorocarbon cerite. In 2008, Avalon rare Metals Company commissioned Wardrop Engineering Consulting Company to summarize the exploration data in Lake area and compile the resource evaluation report in accordance with NI43-101 standard. According to the estimation report released in March 2009, with 1.6%REO as the boundary grade, the Lake area has control + inferred grade resources of 65.21 million tons, the average grade of rare earth oxides is 2.05%, and the equivalent amount of rare earth metals is 1.33 million tons, of which heavy rare earth oxides account for about 15% of the total rare earth oxides. Avalon rare Metals has been approved for the environmental impact assessment of the Toll Lake project and has commissioned relevant consulting firms to carry out the project environmental impact assessment, which is expected to complete the pre-feasibility study in 2009-2010.

(Hoidas Lake) of Lake Huoyidas rare Earth Mine, Canada

The Hoyidas Lake (Hoidas Lake) rare earth deposit is located 50 kilometers north of the uranium city in northern Saskatchewan, Canada. In the 1950s, the area was explored as a corner of the rare earth production workshop for uranium deposits, and it was not until 1999 that rare earth deposits were discovered in the area. Currently, (GreatWestern Minerals Group Ltd.), a Canadian western minerals company, has a 100 per cent interest in the area. By the first half of 2008, Daxi Minerals had constructed about 15000 meters of drilling, revealing that the orebody was more than 1000 meters long, with a dip depth of more than 350m and a thickness of 3 to 12m, and that both ends of the orebody and deep extension were not closed. Rare earth metals are mainly found in apatite, epidote and other minerals. In 2007, Daxi Minerals commissioned Wardrop Engineering Consulting to carry out a pre-feasibility study on the Huoyidas rare earth project. According to the drilling data at the end of 2007, with 1.5%REO as the boundary grade, the project has obtained 1.15 million tons of proven + control grade resources, an average grade of 2.36% REO, an inferred grade of 370000 tons, an average grade of 2.15% REO, and a total of 35000 tons of rare earth oxide metals (in accordance with the NI43-101 standard). Daxi Minerals plans to complete the feasibility study and environmental impact assessment report in 2009, start engineering design and construction in 2010-2011, put into production in 2012, and process 500 tons of ore per design day, with a mine life of 20 years. Unlike other raw material mining companies, Daxi Minerals operates a business model from mine products to rare earth terminal products, with rare earth processing plants in the United Kingdom and the United States to produce alloy powder and samarium cobalt magnets for nickel-hydrogen batteries.

(Mt Weld) of Weldshan rare Earth Mine, Australia

The Weldshan (Mt Weld) rare earth deposit is located 35 kilometers south of the town of Leverton, Western Australia. The rare earth orebody in this area is in the weathered circular carbonate body, the rare earth minerals are mainly false monazite, accompanied by tantalum, niobium and other rare metals. The Weiershan circular carbonate structure was discovered in 1966 when aeromagnetic survey was carried out. Subsequently, a number of mining companies carried out exploration activities of different scales in the area. The target minerals are phosphorus, rare earths, tantalum, niobium and uranium. In 2000, (Lynas Corporation), an Australian Lehner company, acquired an interest in the Weldshan mine, and carried out supplementary exploration, resource evaluation and ore separation and smelting tests for rare earths and rare metals in Weldshan from 2002 to 2008. According to the data published on Reiner's website, with 4%REO as the boundary grade, the central rare earth area of Welder Mountain has a total of 6.2 million tons of resources of proven + control grade, 1.5 million tons of inferred grade resources, 11.9 percent of the average grade of rare earth oxides, and 920000 tons of rare earth metals. In 2008, Reiner commissioned the Australian Mine Design and Development Company to design and optimize open pit mining in the central rare earth area of Mount Wilder, and carried out the first phase of mining activities in June 2008, with a total of 770000 tons of ore produced with an average grade of 15.4%REO. Lehner plans to build a concentrator at the Weldshan mine to select 40%REO concentrate for smelting at the rare earth separation plant in Guantan, Malaysia. The first phase of the rare earth separation plant is designed to produce 10500 tons of rare earth oxides per year, and the second phase is expanded to 21000 tons per year. However, due to the financial crisis, resulting in the financing failure of Lehner Company, the current concentrator and separation plant project construction has been shelved.

(Nolans) of Nolan rare Earth Mine, Australia

The Nolan (Nolans) rare earth deposit is located 130km north of Alice Prius, the northern state of Australia. The deposit not only contains rare earth ore, but also associated with phosphorus and uranium. The orebody occurs in the metamorphosed granite body, which is flat in plane, inclined to NWW, with an inclination of 65 to 90 degrees and a thickness of 75 meters. The ore minerals are mainly thorium-rich monazite and fluorine-containing apatite. The deposit is an Australian listed company, Alafra Resources Co., Ltd.

Black rare earth

The state has been saddened by the loss of rare earth resources for a long time. As early as the 1980s, under the background of the high demand for rare earths from Japan, South Korea, Western Europe, and North America, some private enterprises without mining certificates entered the rare earth market one after another, and the rare earth market was out of control. A large number of mining led to an oversupply of rare earth resources, and the cost of unlicensed mining enterprises was low, and the cost of certified mining enterprises was high. Bad money drives good money, so that the interests of the industry are damaged. On the other hand, because of the imbalance of production and marketing in the rare earth industry, it is difficult to dominate the pricing power of rare earth products in the international market, which directly harms the national interests. In addition, because of the scarcity of rare earth resources, foreign countries have established a very mature strategic storage system of rare earth resources. In China, on the other hand, in some places where government regulation fails, there are still "black mines" that exploit rare earth resources in large quantities for short-term benefits. Therefore, in this context, the integration of the six rare earths is particularly necessary. On the one hand, its successful establishment is conducive to improving the concentration of the rare earth industry, conducive to government supervision, on the other hand, it can strengthen the rational allocation of resources in our country. Further industrial and technological upgrading.

The State's Policy of cracking down on "Black rare Earths" in recent years

In the context of the continuous flow of black rare earths to the market, the state has also been cracking down on its policy of coming out of Taiwan in recent years. The following is a list of the government's recent policy of cracking down on "black rare earths" in Taiwan.

In September 2018, Jiangxi Province issued a letter on organizing a special action to crack down on rare earth violations, and a special action to crack down on rare earth violations was carried out from September 2018 to January 2019. September to October 2018 is the self-examination stage, November to December is the special supervision stage, and January 2019 is the notification processing stage.

In October 2018, eight ministries and commissions, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the National Development and Reform Commission, issued a notice to jointly launch special inspectors of the rare earth industry in eight provinces and cities, including the main producing areas of rare earths, to further rectify the order of the rare earth industry. The member units of the inter-ministerial coordination mechanism for rare metals are scheduled to organize special supervision and inspection of the order rectification of the rare earth industry from October 30 to November 30. The scope of supervision and inspection includes Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Sichuan and other eight provinces (regions).

November 2018 Jiangsu: local Standard "radioactive exemption requirements for rare Earth smelting waste residue" implemented on November 1, 2018

Mianning County Environmental Protection Bureau: comprehensive Supervision and Inspection of rare Earth Mining and selection Enterprises

January 12, 2019: serious handling of illegal enterprises such as reselling illegal rare earth minerals

Twelve member units of the inter-ministerial coordination mechanism for rare metals, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Natural Resources, jointly issued the Circular on continuously strengthening the order rectification of the rare Earth Industry

Circular on continuously strengthening the order rectification of rare Earth Industry issued by Dehong Natural Resources and Planning Bureau

A number of rare earth products / projects / processes are listed, and the National Development and Reform Commission has issued the guidance catalogue for Industrial structure Adjustment (2019 version, draft for soliciting opinions).

Environmental problems in rare Earth Mining

Illegal mining is easy to cause environmental problems, for our country, this problem is particularly thorny, because of the previous years of regulatory problems, rare earth practitioners have a low threshold, resulting in large and small enterprises, the phenomenon of illegal mining still can not be put an end to.

In the process of separation and enrichment of rare earth ores, strong acids such as sulfuric acid need to be used, and many rare earth ores also contain fluorine elements, so the pollution of slag is very large. The treatment of these slag is not small, at present, the main way is stacking. At Baotou Steel, for example, the tailings already cover an area of more than 10 square kilometers.

The pollution problem may be even more serious in the south, because ionic mines are mainly treated by leaching, which will inevitably lead to pollutants entering the groundwater system, and long-term exploitation, resulting in loose soil quality, while in the hilly areas of the south, such consequences may lead to geological disasters such as landslides. However, it is precisely because our country has been mining in this area for a long time and has accumulated a lot of experience, so we have actually paid more attention to the control of pollution. Over the past decade or so, in view of the problem of pollution, whether policy or technology, have been greatly improved. The Mountain pass mine in the United States, in fact, was closed in 1998. At that time, considering environmental issues, it advised never to exploit it, but it was restarted under pressure from resources, and it caused a lot of controversy in the United States.

 

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