Japan anxious over rare earth supplies

[miningmx.com] — JAPAN’s trade minister, Akihiro Ohata, said on Wednesday he would like to visit China as soon as possible to talk to officials there to secure supply of rare earth minerals from the world’s biggest supplier.

His comments came after Beijing on December 29 said it would cut its export quotas by 35% for the first half of 2011 versus a year ago, saying it wanted to preserve ample reserves. It also cautioned that it has not decided on the quotas for the second half of the year.

“I’d like to make the opportunity to talk to China,” Ohata said at a regular news conference. Asked when he would do so, Ohata said: “I would say as soon as possible. In other words, I’d like to go before the regular parliament session starts (later this month).”

China produces about 97% of the global supply of rare earth minerals, which are essential to make a range of high-tech products.