Amount of Rare Earth Minerals Smuggled Out of China

in Environmental Threats

Chinese Officials reported that over 21,000 tons of rare earth minerals was smuggled out of the country in 2011. The amount of minerals smuggled out of the country was 20 percent higher than the 18,600 tons that was legally exported out of China.

State media in China reported that of the 21,000 tons of smuggled minerals, Customs officials investigated eight cases involving 769 tons of rare earth minerals in 2011.

China holds up to 23 percent of the world’s rare earth deposits, but accounts for over 90 percent of the global supply. Rare earth minerals are used for many electronic devices, such as cell phones and batteries.

Source: Zhang Yan and Wang Qian, “Smuggling blights rare earths industry,” China Daily, December 10, 2012.

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