Precious rare earth metals belong to the state, China declares

By Gabriel Gavin | 07/01/2024 12:56 PM EDT

Beijing’s hold on the coveted resources has long been seen as a threat to Western clean power and tech supply chains.

BRUSSELS — The Chinese government has introduced a slew of new measures designed to tighten its grip on lucrative natural resources used in everything from electric cars to wind turbines.

In a list released by the country’s State Council on Saturday, Beijing declared that rare earth metals are the property of the state and warned “no organization or person may encroach on or destroy rare-earth resources.”

From Oct. 1, when the rules come into force, the government will operate a rare earth traceability database to ensure it can control the extraction, use and export of the metals. China currently produces around 60 percent of the world’s rare earth metals, and is the origin of around 90 percent of refined rare earths on the market.


Beijing has already prohibited exports of rare earth refining and magnet manufacturing technologies. In January, it banned the export of gallium and germanium, both highly sought after by the computer-chip industry.