China Rare Earth Group Established Today; China Import Duty For RE Set to Zero; Rare Earth Boycotter Demoted;
Rare Earth 2021 December 23
Only a very brief one today, it is Christmas. We’ll catch up during the final days of the year.
Today New China News Agency “Xinhua” carried the following flash from People’s Daily:
People's Daily 2021-12-23 13:12
China Rare Earth Group Co., Ltd. was established in Ganzhou, Jiangxi on the 23rd.
It is understood that China Rare Earth Group Co., Ltd. has introduced China Iron and Steel Research Technology Group Co., Ltd., China Aluminum Group Corporation, China Minmetals Corporation, Ganzhou Rare Earth Group Co., Ltd.
Formed by two rare earth technology research and development enterprises including the Institute of Technology Group Co., Ltd., it is a large-scale rare earth enterprise group established in accordance with the principles of marketisation and rule of law.
After the establishment, China Rare Earth Group Co., Ltd. is a central enterprise with diversified stock rights under the direct supervision of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council [SASAC].
According to the relevant person in charge of China Rare Earth Group Co., Ltd., under the new development pattern, the group management and intensive development of rare earth enterprises are conducive to increasing scientific research investment, integrating innovative resources, and improving the R&D and application of new rare earth processes, new technologies, and new materials. The ability to further smooth the communication between the upstream and downstream of the rare earth industry chain and between different fields, and better guarantee the upgrading and upgrading of traditional industries and the development of strategic emerging industries.
It is understood that after the establishment of China Rare Earth Group Co., Ltd., it will focus on rare earth technology research and development, exploration and development, separation and smelting, intensive processing, downstream applications, complete equipment, industrial incubation, technical consulting services, import and export and trade businesses, and strive to create a first-class Rare Earth Enterprise Group.
So, what changes, apart from the label?
Attention: These are NOT capacities, these are assigned production quota. The overall capacity is about twice as high as the quota is.
The new China Rare Earth Group Co., Ltd. will be removed from provincial/local control and administered by the State-owned Assets Administration Commission in Beijing.
The underlying hardware remains the same. The expectation is, according to a market participant and NdFeB producer, that China domestic competition may be reduced.
Since western imports from China are >70% dirt cheap lanthanum and cerium, more often than not supplied by China Northern, the competition impact on exports may be rather limited.
The remaining unmerged 3 may be reorganised in future.
Global Times - The Rare Earth Fear Monger
Over and over again the editor of China’s Global Times, Hu Xi Jin called for a rare earth export boycott, as China’s rare earth industry watched in horror.
Western media fell for Mr. Hu’s FUD, including, most embarrassingly, the Financial Times.
However, the Financial Times case was the last straw, Beijing finally had enough of Hu’s nonsense.
On February 17, 2021 Hu Xi Jin was made to publicly admit on a Chinese military information website, that a rare earth boycott would not be one of the very best ideas around.
Reportedly around that time also minder was put in his office.
Taiwan War Mongering
But he continued firebrand speech on another issue, the unification with Taiwan by force.
He did not and he does not understand, that the threat of war against Taiwan undermines the foundation, China’s entire diplomacy was built on for decades: The peaceful, consensual unification with Taiwan, commonly known as the One China Principle.
China’s threat of war against Taiwan backfired tremendously.
China-critics in Eastern Europe, who have fond memories of suffering under communism and Soviet domination, who somehow completely fail in appreciating Neo-Maoist speech from Beijing, were among the first to ditch China and touch base with Taiwan. The EU-Parliament and the US-Congress sent semi-diplomatic missions to Taiwan, accompanied by the howling of China’s diplomatic “you will regret that” wolf-warriors.
After Taiwan established a de-facto diplomatic mission in Vilnius, Lithuania even had to evacuate its entire diplomatic staff from Beijing and close its embassy, related to threats uttered by “oh, no, we would never say something like that” China officials.
In recent weeks it has dawned on the upper echelons in China, that they have entered a very slippery slope and that they need to take several steps back.
Wolf-warriors and economic coercion have completely failed in bombing the world into submission. On top of all that: Instead of isolating Taiwan, China has continuously isolated itself.
Also the current leadership’s trademark project Belt & Road seems on the brink of falling apart. In loyal Belt-Roader and largest beneficiary/debtor Pakistan there have been ongoing, uninterrupted protests against China for a month now.
Reversing course, now the Beijing leadership calls for a “Peaceful China” initiative.
When in a hole, stop digging.
In order to get out of isolation, China must fix its relationship with the US, and that is exactly, what the party expects of the leadership until the 20th Plenum of the CCP in November 2022, when the current leadership hopes to get an extension.
Hence “Peaceful China” was born.
The Final Whistle
But apparently Global Times’ Hu Xi Jin had not heard the final whistle. On December 16, 2021 he was removed from office and demoted to “commentator”.
One sign of China reversing course is that, after traveling halfway around the world, after exercises in Oman, Pakistan, Diego Garcia, Australia, Guam, Japan, Korea, incl. recording North Korea smuggling just off the East China coast, the top-notch hi-tech German warship “Bayern” transited the disputed South China Sea, as a German sign of protest against China’s illegal, unjustifiable, aggressive domination attempts, combined with bullying of weaker neighbours, and from Beijing there was: Silence.
When previously US, UK, French or Australian warships did the same, taking whatever route, there was deep consternation and loud wolf-warrior howling in Beijing.
This time around there was not a single hateful word, no howling from the “you will regret that” wolf-warriors. The tone from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was conciliatory.
Only Hu Xi Jin, now demoted to commentator at Global Times, tried to spew some of his poison.
Just when you thought illegal mining in China was over:
The high demand for coal has shored up prices, prompting the resurgence of illegal coal mining, according to the Office of the Work Safety Committee of the State Council and the Ministry of Emergency Management.
Campaigners say that profits from heavy rare earth metals mined in Myanmar are helping to strengthen the brutal junta, and the metals should now be legally designated as conflict minerals.
That would compel manufacturers to check that they are not being mined in a way that contributes to human rights abuses and, if they are, to disclose that the metals are sourced from conflict zones.
That is likely to mean more profits flowing to militia groups in Kachin State that are allied with the military regime and control areas where heavy rare earths are mined.
Campaigners have said the sale of the metals is strengthening Myanmar’s junta and have called for stricter regulations to ensure major car manufacturers are not using them in their vehicles.
Tesla, BMW and other leading car companies have all declined to tell Myanmar Now whether or not they use components that include heavy rare earths from Myanmar.
Treating rare earths as conflict minerals was briefly considered before, as the EU did not want to stand for the massive environmental destruction that happened in China before.
Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry and others revealed the visible-near-infrared spectrum characteristics of ion-adsorbed rare earth deposits
Recently, researcher He Hongping and Ph.D. Tan Wei of the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences cooperated with the University of Hong Kong and others. Through a systematic study of the visible-near-infrared spectroscopy characteristics of rare earth-containing clay minerals and typical ion-adsorbed rare earth deposits, it was determined that spectral parameters that effectively indicate the weathering degree, rare earth content and properties of ore bodies of ion-adsorbed rare earth deposits and provide a theoretical basis for the building a new method for rapid exploration of ion-adsorbed rare earth deposits.
The study found that the ion-adsorbed Nd3+, Dy3+, Ho3+, Er3+ and Tm3+ have characteristic peaks in the 730-870, 805, 641, 652 and 684nm bands, and the second derivative of the absorption intensity of the rare earth element Nd in the 740nm, 800nm and other bands is consistent with the content of rare earth elements in the weathering crust, showing a positive correlation, which can be used as an effective spectral parameter for evaluating the grade of the rare earth in the weathering crust; the intensity of the 1396nm and 1910nm bands and their ratio (M1396_2nd/M1910_2nd) in the spectral curve are obviously related to the chemical alteration index (CIA). It is an effective parameter to delineate the position of rare earth ore bodies in the weathering crust in the field.
Perhaps this could potentially save a lot of pain and exploration cost.
In a recent paper in the Chemical Engineering Journal, Amir Sheikhi, assistant professor of chemical engineering and biomedical engineering, at Penn State, details a new nanotechnology to separate neodymium using plant cellulose, which is found in paper, cotton and pulp. Patrictia Wamea, a former member of Sheikhi's lab who graduated in May with a master of science degree, co-authored the paper and earned the Penn State Department of Chemical Engineering's annual Best Paper Award in fall 2021 for her contributions.
In the process, hairy cellulose nanocrystals, nanoparticles derived from cellulose fibrils, bind selectively to neodymium ions, separating them from other ions, such as iron, calcium and sodium, according to Sheikhi. The nanoparticles are known as "hairy" due to cellulose chains attached to their two ends, which perform critical chemical functions.
To do this, the researchers negatively charged the hairy layers of the nanoparticles in order to attract and bind with the positively charged neodymium ions, resulting in particle aggregation into larger pieces that can then be effectively recycled and reused.
"The process is effective in its removal capacity, selectivity and in its speed," Sheikhi said. "It can separate neodymium in seconds by selectively removing the element from some of the tested impurities."
If you are into Greenland, Syenite and Eudialyte, you do want to watch this.
This clearly goes to the address of the Greenland government and the EU Commission (not that the Commission would actually care).
China will set the import duties for rare earth compounds, carbonates and concentrates to zero in 2022.
Implement the new development concept and promote high-quality development. Starting from January 1, 2022, my country will adjust the import and export tariffs of some commodities
Starting from January 1, 2022, our country will implement temporary import tariff rates lower than the most-favored-nation tariff rate on 954 commodities. …
Fourth, to improve environmental quality and promote green and low-carbon development, reduce import tariffs on gasoline engine particulate traps that can improve vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce exhaust emissions, electronic throttles for automobiles, and peat that can be used for soil remediation.
The fifth is to help the manufacturing industry to optimise and upgrade, reduce import tariffs on key components such as high-purity graphite accessories, high-voltage cables used in high-speed trains, membrane electrode assemblies for fuel cells, and bipolar plates, and reduce cocoa beans, vegetable essential oils, animal fur and other foods Import tariffs on raw materials required by the processing, daily chemical, and leather manufacturing industries.
Sixth, reduce the import tariffs on resource products such as pyrite and pure potassium chloride that are in short supply in the country.
Another 5% additional revenue for junior rare earth miners who plan to ship to China.
May we ask, how much louder China must scream at junior rare earth miners:
Start digging! Now!
Of course, the situation for junior rare earth miner is, that not only the prices of their prospective products have exploded, on the cost side things has also changed, but for the worse. In the worst case, the one or the other feasibility study may even have become obsolete.
The key technology of building a new energy system, the new energy storage installed capacity may have room for eightfold growth
On the supply side, the overall indicators at the end of the year are insufficient, the market is short of raw ore, some separated companies have reduced production, and a few companies are also affected by power restrictions, and the operating rate has dropped to less than 50%. Import of Myanmar mines in large quantities will be restricted.
On the demand side, downstream merchants have a strong mood for replenishment before the Spring Festival. Northeast Securities said that in the short term, the contradiction between supply and demand may further intensify, and the price of rare earths has sufficient momentum.
In the long run, rare earths are at the starting point of a new era of supply and demand reshaping.
The reconstruction of the valuation system is expected to reproduce the logic of the historically high demand for lithium cobalt new energy, and its supply side is even better than lithium cobalt. New energy vehicles are the core application area for the growth of demand for rare earths.
From a medium to long-term perspective, the trend of automotive electrification has been determined. The production and sales of new energy vehicles have also continued to exceed expectations in the near future, leading to a full explosion of rare earth consumption.
Guosen Securities predicts that the electric vehicle field will be praseodymium and neodymium oxide in 2025. The consumption will exceed 50,000 tons.
In addition, under the guidance of energy saving and consumption reduction, the consumption of rare earths driven by permanent magnet motors cannot be ignored.
Under the assumption of steady growth in demand, the global supply and demand gap for neodymium praseodymium oxide will continue to expand.
NioCorp Developments released a new report Tuesday that shows those rare earth elements are present throughout the deposit it plans to mine if it can raise roughly $1 billion to build the project about an hour southeast of Lincoln near the town of Elk Creek.
“There’s a lot of minerals in the ore body," said Abraham, who runs the Technology, Rare and Electronics Materials Center. "The question is what is actually economically feasible to recover and realistic to process.”
After so many years still at the beginning?
Energy Fuels Announces Strategic Venture with Nanoscale Powders to Develop Innovative Rare Earth Metal-Making Technology
Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) ("Energy Fuels" or the "Company") is pleased to announce the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") with Nanoscale Powders LLC ("NSP") for the development of a novel technology (the "Technology") for the production of rare earth element ("REE") metals (the "Project"). We believe this Technology, which was initially developed by NSP, and will be advanced by the Company and NSP working together, has the potential to revolutionize the rare earth metal making industry by reducing costs of production, reducing energy consumption, and significantly reducing greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions. Producing REE metals and alloys ("REE Metals") is a key step in a fully integrated REE supply chain, after production of separated REE oxides ("REE Oxides") and before the manufacture of neodymium iron boron ("NdFeB") magnets used in electric vehicles ("EVs"), wind generation and other clean energy and advanced technologies.
Since our last issue, NdPr metal fell 3% and yttrium oxide rose 9%. It is Christmas and we’ll not dive into the details.
As ever, these are ex works China prices incl. 13% VAT for the most common qualities of rare earth oxides/metals, converted at the official onshore RMB/USD exchange rate. Actual offer prices will differ.