On December 27, 2012 the Foreign Trade Division of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced the first round of allocations  of rare-earth export quotas for 2013, to companies operating in China. A total of 15,499 t of export quotas was allocated in this first round, comprising 13,561 t of light rare-earth (LRE) products and 1,938 t of medium / heavy rare-earth (M / HRE) products (FYI – MOFCOM is showing a total of 13,563 t of LRE products in its announcement, but this appears to be an addition error).
There were no changes to the way that the quotas were calculated this time. As you may recall, the allocation of export quotas for 2012 saw separate allocations for LRE and M/HRE products for the first time, as well as the allocation of provisional and confirmed quotas depending on whether or not companies had passed new pollution-control standards. The separation into LRE and M/HRE products remains, but there are no distinctions in this announcement between provisional and confirmed quotas. There is also no indication in the announcement, of what the total quota might be for 2013, in contrast to the announcement made a year ago for the first allocation of 2012.
So let’s take a look now at the specific companies that have received quota allocations in this first allocation for 2013. The list is divided into sub-lists for Chinese and Chinese / non-Chinese joint-venture (JV) companies. The two sub-lists are sorted from highest-to-lowest total allocation:
|Exporting Company: Chinese-Owned||Allocation (tonnes)|
|China Nonferrous Import-Export Co. Jiangsu Branch||776||166||942|
|Gansu Rare Earth New Materials Co.||814||88||902|
|China Minmetals Corporation*||710||173||883|
|Grirem Advanced Materials Co.||722||158||880|
|Leshan Shenghe Rare Earth Technology Co.||624||69||693|
|Xuzhou Jinshi Pengyuan Rare Earth Materials Co.||550||63||613|
|Yiyang Hongyuan Rare Earth Co.||581||25||606|
|Ganzhou Chenguang Rare Earth New Materials Co.||518||68||586|
|Guangdong Rising Nonferrous Metals Group Co.||492||92||584|
|Baotou Huamei Rare Earth Hi-Tech Co.**||545||36||581|
|Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare Earth Hi-Tech Co.**||519||34||553|
|Chalco Rare Earth (Jiangsu) Co.||413||121||534|
|Ganzhou Qiandong Rare Earth Group Co.||419||101||520|
|Jiangxi Rare Earth & Rare Metals Tungsten Group Co.||475||5||480|
|Shandong Pengyu Industrial Co.||422||48||470|
|Inner Mongolia Baotou Hefa Rare Earth Co.**||421||34||455|
|Guangdong Zhujiang Rare Earth Co.||75||38||113|
|Xi’an Xijun New Materials Co.||12||0||12|
|Ganxian Hongjin Rare Earth Co.*||146||34||180|
|Exporting Company: Chinese / Non-Chinese JV||Allocation (tonnes)|
|Baotou Rhodia Rare Earth Co.||1,090||81||1,171|
|Zibo Jiahua Advanced Material Resources Co.||671||24||695|
|Yixing Xinwei Leeshing Rare Earth Co.||576||109||685|
|Jiangyin Jiahua Advanced Material Resources Co.||533||139||672|
|Liyang Rhodia Rare Earth New Materials Co.||443||138||581|
|Baotou Tianjiao Seimi Rare Earth Polishing Powder Co.**||211||11||222|
|Baotou Santoku Battery Materials Co.||164||13||177|
|Huhhot Rongxin New Metal Smelting Co.||144||16||160|
|Sub-Total: Chinese / Non-Chinese JVs||3,832||531||4,363|
* Part of China Minmetals Group, which was allocated a confirmed total of 1,063 t.
** Part of Baogang Group, which was allocated a confirmed total of 1,811 t.
The total quota is allocated to each individual company via a formula that is related to the sales volume and revenues generated by each company in the recent past, in comparison to sales for the industry as a whole.
One company which received quota allocations previously but which is not on the list above is Jiangxi South Rare Earths Hi-Tech Co., part of the China Minmetals Group. This was one of four companies that, according to MOFCOM, needed to be reviewed by the authorities before they were deemed to have qualified to receive rare-earth export quotas. The other three are included in the list above.
Here is a comparison of the quota allocations for the past few years:
While there was no mention of an estimate of the total quotas for 2013 in the MOFCOM announcement, there have been one or two rumors circulating from Chinese sources, that the total for 2013 would be about the same as in previous years. However, given the fact that the actual exports of rare earths out of China have been significantly lower than the quota allocations set, the drop in demand for some materials, and the likelihood of new sources of (non-Chinese) supplies of LREs coming onto the market in 2013, there is a distinct possibility that the total quota for 2013 will be lower than those for the last three years.