October 19, 2010 (Chinavestor) China, home to the largest rare earths minerals deposits, has no definite plans to lower export quotas for the minerals next year, according to the Ministry of Commerce. The department was responding to press reports that said China was planning a 30% export reduction for rare earths products in 2011.
China pared rare earths exports earlier this year by 40% to boost prices and lower poullution. Rare earths minerals are used in a wide array of high-tech gadgets from iPhones and televisions to hybrid cars. The minerals are also essential components in the production of defense products such as missiles.
Demand for and consumption of rare earths minerals has been surging and China recently said at the current rate of consumption, the country could run out of the resources in the next 15-20 years.
Rare earths are comprised of 17 different elements. China has the largest share of worldwide reserves, about 36 percent, and the U.S. is second, with 13 percent, Bloomberg News reported, citing the U.S. Geological Survey.