Land ministry launches rare earth material crackdown
China's Ministry of Land and Resources (MOLR) has suspended the acceptance of new rare earth mineral prospecting right and mining rights applications while stressing the need to crack down on illegal and excessive exploitation of rare earth minerals in order to maintain orderly development.
The MOLR demanded that all provinces observe the rare earth mineral reserves management rules. The local governments should be responsible for the supervision and protection of national mineral reserve areas, which should not be exploited without national approval, according to Xinhua.
The Ministry also prohibited the increase of production capacity in rare earth mine. Furthermore it will establish a southern ion rare earth mining access system, which raises the access threshold in terms of the applicants' production scale as well as their financial and technical capacities.
It said in a statement that supervision over rare earth production areas be continually strengthened in order to detect and suppress all kinds of illegal and excessive mining exploitation in a timely fashion. This can be accomplished through the use of satellite images, video monitoring, inspection, whistleblower hotlines, integrated information platforms and other means.
China will intensify the fight against illegal exploration and exploitation of rare earth and severely deal with undocumented mining. Major cases of illegal mining exploration should be seriously investigated, and enterprises and the relevant personnel responsible shall be prosecuted according to the law, the Ministry warned