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Japan to limit rare-earth mining to protect offshore deposits

State-backed company to invest in projects to speed up development

Global demand for rare earths is estimated to surge by as much as a factor of 13 by 2040.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The Japanese government decided Tuesday to restrict access to the nation's rare-earth resources to a roster of approved miners to protect offshore deposits within its exclusive economic zone.

Only operators licensed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will be allowed to mine rare earths. The plan was approved by a METI subcommittee Tuesday, with the legislative proposal to be submitted to next year's regular parliamentary session.

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