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Published: 09:28, January 25, 2023 | Updated: 14:03, January 25, 2023
China remains Germany's main supplier of rare earths
By Xinhua
Published:09:28, January 25, 2023 Updated:14:03, January 25, 2023 By Xinhua

This undated file photo shows rare earth oxides. (Clockwise from top center: praseodymium, cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, samarium, gadolinium) (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

BERLIN - Germany's imports of rare-earth metals from China amounted to 49.3 million euros ($53.7 million) in the first eleven months of 2022, accounting for two-thirds of the total imports, the country's Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) said on Tuesday.

For some of the rare earths, the share was even higher. Of the 220 tons of Scandium and Yttrium imported during this period, which were worth 1.7 million euros, 94.4 percent came from China.

As the world's largest producer of rare earths, China accounts for three-quarters of all imports globally, according to the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). In the European Union, the average share of rare-earths imports from China is around 94 percent.

The term rare earth refers to a group of 17 elements that are used to make a range of products and infrastructure which are increasingly important to everyday life. They can be found in mobiles, hard drives, and trains, but they are also important for green technology including wind turbines and electric vehicles.

ALSO READ: Group sets eyes on nation's rare earth industry

As the world's largest producer of rare earths, China accounts for three-quarters of all imports globally, according to the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). In the European Union, the average share of rare-earths imports from China is around 94 percent.

With demand for rare earths in the EU expected to increase fivefold by 2030, Europe is planning to strengthen domestic production, processing and recycling through the Critical Raw Materials Act.

Earlier this month, the largest known deposit of rare earths in Europe, around one million tons, was discovered in Kiruna, northern Sweden. According to state-owned mining company LKAB, it is expected to take at least 10 to 15 years before mining can begin.

READ MORE: China says guideline to protect rare earth industry, environment

So far, no rare earths are being mined in Europe. 

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