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Rare-earth prices hinder goals


The prices of most rare earths have risen by three to five times this year since China began consolidating the industry.

The prices of most rare earths have risen by three to five times this year since China began consolidating the industry.


Surging rare-earth prices will hinder the country's targets for energy conservation and emissions reduction as the increased cost of raw material has affected downstream producers, industry experts warned.

Zhang Anwen, deputy secretary-general of the Chinese Society of Rare Earths, said that the "quite elevated" rare-earth prices helped producers earn billions of dollars, but the country will face a challenge meeting its energy conservation target.

"If one fifth of the lamps in China are equipped with energy-efficient bulbs, the country can save at least 100 billion kilowatt-hours of energy each year, equivalent to the annual energy output of the Three Gorges hydroelectric dam," Zhang said. "But because of high raw-material costs, downstream companies such as producers of energy-efficient bulbs have cut or halted production, which will greatly affect the country's targets for energy conservation and emissions reduction."

Rare earth is comprised of 17 metals used in applications such as high-performance magnets, light-emitting diode (LED) phosphors, and in high-tech products such as iPads and electric cars.

The price of fluorescent powder, which includes the rare-earth elements lanthanum and cerium and applied in energy-efficient LED light bulbs, rose from 300 yuan ($46.96) a kg in January to 2,500 yuan a kg in June, according to data from the online non-ferrous metals information provider Shanghai Metals Market (SMM).

Tang Meixuan, general manager of Suzhou New Century Fluorescent Material Ltd, said since prices of rare earths skyrocketed, between 30 to 50 percent of LED bulb producers cut production to wait until the prices drop.

Battery producers for electrical cars using praseodymium, neodymium and lanthanum also felt the pain of rising costs.

Luo Tao, managing director of Hunan Corun New Energy Co Ltd, a battery producer for electrical vehicles, said if the prices of rare earths continue to increase, the battery industry will collapse and the country will face obstacles in developing electrical cars.

The country aims to have 1 million electrical cars by 2015.

The prices of most rare earths have risen by three to five times this year since China began consolidating the industry.

However, prices started easing in July. The price of rare-earth cerium oxide dropped by 20 percent after downstream companies reduced production.

A manager from Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Hi-Tech Co, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the world's largest rare-earth producer, which controls 60 percent of the world's light rare-earth supply, has more than 10,000 tons of rare earth in stockpiles.

In earlier reports, Zhang Zhong, general manager of Baotou Steel Rare-Earth, said rare-earth prices will remain at high levels in the second half due to tight supply as the government kicks into action strict policies to encourage sustainable development of the overexploited industry.

He said that surging rare-earth prices will accelerate the reduction of low-value-added downstream companies and encourage high-tech development in the rare-earth industry.

From a long-term perspective, Zhang said these companies will either naturally fade away or move up the value chain.

A company executive from a rare-earth processing company in Ganzhou, who requested anonymity, said in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, half of the companies producing loudspeaker components, which use neodymium iron boron, have halted production.

"One third of downstream companies using neodymium iron boron have stopped production as the price of the rare earth skyrocketed," said Wei Chishan, an analyst with SMM.

China has been implementing strict measures on the valuable metals to protect them from being overexploited and undervalued.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said last week that the ministry will join forces with five other ministries and state agencies to strengthen efforts against the illegal mining and smelting of rare earths.

china daily 18th August

Ningbo to introduce 4,000 overseas talents in the coming five years

According to a newly released plan on talent introduction, in the coming five years, Ningbo will put in a special fund of 100 million every year for the introduction of about 5 high-end innovative teams from the world. This is said at a related news press the other day.

The "3315 Team Introduction Plan" is a part of the oversea talent introduction plan of Ningbo, aiming to introduce into Ningbo some overseas high-end innovative teams that are led by the innovative talents and are capable of promoting the industrial development of Ningbo with their international advanced technologies so that they can contribute to the implement of the "6 accelerates strategy". The targets of the plan are: during the 12th Five-year-plan Period, for the "4+4+4" industries, marine economic industries and modern service industries, the city will put in a special fund of 100 million every year for the introduction of about 5 high-end innovative teams from the world. The priority will be given to the introduction of the high-end innovative teams that are engaged in industries on the category of key industries of Ningbo, promising to promote the industries, make important breakthroughs and bring forth considerable economic and social benefits. The introduced teams will be supported by special funds of 20 million yuan, 10 million yuan or 5 million yuan.

In May this year, Ningbo released the "3315 Talent Introduction Plan", aiming to have 30, 300 and 1,000 high-end overseas talents respectively listed in the central government talent plan, the provincial government talent plan and the municipal government talent plan.

It is learned that Ningbo is making a "3315 international talent introduction plan", aiming to introduce on the yearly base 30 foreign people to establish their business in Ningbo and 300 foreign people to engage themselves in scientific and technological innovation. According to the plan, during the 12th Five-Year-Plan Period, Ningbo will introduce 1,500 foreign people to engage themselves in scientific and technological innovation. In the meanwhile, the city will strengthen the policy support to the foreign talent introduction.

It is learned that with the talent introduction plans, in the 12th Five-Year-Plan Period, Ningbo will introduce over 4,000 high-end overseas talents.

Quarantine and Inspection Bureau Set up Zhejiang's First GLP Lab

The National Certification and Accreditation Administration granted a certificate of reliable laboratory to the Chemicals Safety Evaluation Center of the Ningbo Quarantine and Inspection Bureau, which made it Zhejiang's first GLP lab. From now on, chemical companies of Ningbo can apply for the safety assessment report in Ningbo, which is mutually recognized with EU Chemicals Agency. It will save time and costs and break through some technical barriers.

· GLP is short for Good Laboratory Practice, which is laboratory standards for safety evaluation of medicines, pesticides, food additives, cosmetics, veterinary drugs,etc. According to REACH regulations of the EU effective on June 1, 2008, all chemicals entering EU markets must get registered with the GLP safety evaluation data.

Citizens can check credit records of companies

Citizens can check the credit information of companies now, sources say. If they want to buy a consumer card from or find a job with some company, they can search the related information for free.

It was learned from the Office of Legislative Affairs of the city government, the city shall make a policy on credit supervision of companies and social assessment measures by the end of the year. Now it is soliciting opinions from the general public.

"To value corporate social responsibilities through legislation is an innovation of Ningbo in social management", said a person in charge of the Office of Legislative Affairs. Enterprises must take social responsibilities, not just in offering job opportunities and in environmental protection, health care, education and social security, etc.

The credibility of a company is defined according to their performance in commerce, taxation, food and drug sanitation, environmental protection, trade, public security, transportation, quality control, etc. But how do these departments share their information with each other.

The most eye-catching part with the draft of the policy is the corporate creditability information database to be set up. The database is to be managed by the industry and commerce administration, with the information provided and verified by various work units.

To ensure impartial assessment, the assessment is to be conducted by agencies of independent status. "The assessing agencies is similar to the Secretariat of the UN, with experts to evaluate the corporate development, labor relations, environmental uses, employee satisfaction, and social recognition, etc.

The drafters attach great importance to mass participation. On one hand, stakeholders and consumers can report of misconduct of companies in fulfilling social responsibilities; on the other, the authorities and information providers can make known the basic credit information of companies and citizens can retrieve the credit records of the company they want to know about.

According to the exposure draft of the new policy, the government award for most responsible companies will be granted based on the rating of the assessment. Besides, subsidies will be given based on their performance in taxation, foreign trade, technology, social insurance, and reduction of emissions, etc. For those enterprises short of social responsibility will be lowered down in credit by banking and insurance agencies.

Citizens can log on the net to air their views and suggestions on the exposure draft.

Ningbo to build 18,387 units of low-income housing this year

In a meeting, Party Secretary Wang Huizhong stressed that officials with competent departments must exert great efforts in ensuring the construction of low-income housing units so as to fulfill the yearly target and improve the housing conditions of the general public. Shou Yongnian, Wang Jianbo and Su Limian were present at the meeting.

As scheduled, this year the city is to start the construction of 1.21 million square meter of low-income housing, totaling 18,387 units (including 11000 units for public renting that total 600,000 m2), and increase 1251 units for low-rent leasing. By the end of July, the city has begun construction of 1.75 million square meters, totaling 16.279 units, about 88.5% of the planned target. The low-rent housing units have increased by 1730, about 138.3% of the target.

Wang Huizhong came to the Chenbodu trace and inspected the housing projects under construction. The 470 units of public rental houses undertaken by Yinzhou have had the mainstay completed and will be put to use by the end of next year. The 1000 units of low-income houses and 200 houses for public leasing that are undertaken by the Jiangdong were started in May and are to completed in April 2013. Wang Huizhong thanked the construction workers and urged the two districts to do the work well.

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