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China tightens rare-earth regulations, policing entire supply chain

Stricter export controls give Beijing leverage amid US tensions

A machine extracts rare-earth materials at the Bayan Obo mine in Inner Mongolia, China.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- China will strengthen regulation over the rare-earth metals industry, from mining to exports, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said Friday, in what some see as its latest response to ongoing tensions with the U.S.

Whereas current regulations focus on the production stage -- such as mine development, smelting or separation -- the draft law of the new regulations seeks to manage the "entire industry chain" of the precious ore, including refining, product transport and all the way up to exports.

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