China on Wednesday launched a physical trading platform for rare earth metals as part of its efforts to regulate the sector and strengthen its pricing power for the resources.
The rare earth trading platform is located in the city of Baotou in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, home to more than half of the world’s light rare earth output.
The Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (Group) Hi-Tech Co., China’s top rare earth producer, launched the platform together with nine other firms and institutions with a total investment of 100 million yuan (15.77 million U.S. dollars). Each shareholder invested 10 million yuan and holds a 10-percent stake in the exchange.
As the world’s largest producer of rare earth metals, China now supplies more than 90 percent of the global demand for rare earth metals, although its reserves account for just 23 percent of the world’s total.
Rare earth metals, a group of 17 metals, are vital for the manufacture of high-tech products ranging from smart phones and wind turbines to electric car batteries and missiles.