Rare earths an important strategic resource: Xi
Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/22 22:19:51
Drive to develop sector comes as trade tensions with US escalate
Rare-earth minerals are important strategic yet non-renewable resources, and efforts are needed to ramp up scientific and technological innovation for there to be increased added value in the sector, Chinese President Xi Jinping said while visiting a major rare-earth company in East China's Jiangxi Province, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.
It was the latest hint that the world's No.1 producer of rare-earth elements is giving the minerals a place of prominence amid escalating trade tensions with the US.
There needs to be a push to continuously improve extraction and utilization techniques, extend the industry chain, raise the added value, and enhance environmental protection of relevant projects to achieve green, sustainable development, Xi said during his visit to JL MAG Rare-Earth Co in Ganzhou, as part of his inspection tour in Jiangxi that ran from Monday to Wednesday, according to Xinhua.
Rare-earth development in Ganzhou, a major rare-earth production area in China, has been hampered by environmental constraints, said Chen Zhanheng, deputy secretary-general of the Association of China Rare Earth Industry.
Chen noted that the president's comments, which addressed varied concerns over rare-earth development, will give a boost to the sector in Ganzhou in particular.
"Measures are expected in the pipeline to push for China's rare-earth upgrade," Chen told the Global Times.
While the nation's rare-earth advantage has thus far centered around the lower end of the industry chain, there are growing signs that the minerals have been increasingly used in fields including white goods appliances, wind power generation and industrial robots, as China is gradually moving up the value chain, he explained.
In a statement posted Wednesday on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the ministry's raw materials industry department stated the opportunity provided by Xi's visit to the Jiangxi rare-earth company needs to be grasped to firmly push ahead with the sector's stable operation.
The news about the president's visit on Monday sparked a rally in Chinese rare-earth shares the same day. Rare-earth stocks have since extended their rally, with shares of JL MAG Rare-Earth Co having surged nearly 30 percent this week as of Wednesday's market close.
Details of Xi's visit and his comments weren't disclosed until Wednesday. In the hall of the rare-earth company, Xi earnestly listened to an explanation of its production and operations, and the development of the rare-earth sector in Ganzhou. He got detailed insights into the distribution, extraction techniques, and applications of the country's rare-earth resources and measures taken to protect the environment over the course of production and processing, according to the Xinhua report.
Technological innovation is the lifeblood of a company, Xi said, and only by possessing indigenous intellectual property and core technology will products with core competitiveness be produced and invincible success be achieved amid stiff competition.
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