First, resources dominate. China Merchants Securities analysts said that as of 2018, there were 120 million tons of rare earth reserves in the world, and 44 million tons in China, accounting for 38%. At the same time, heavy rare earth (represented by dysprosium and terbium) which occupies a more important position in high-end manufacturing has unique advantages. At the end of the 1960s, China discovered the rare ION-ADSORBED rare earth ore in Ganzhou, which has the characteristics of complete distribution, high economic value, easy separation and low radioactivity. The heavy rare earth elements, such as yttrium, dysprosium and terbium, in rare earth are found. China's industrial reserves are 1.5 million tons. Ganzhou in Jiangxi Province accounts for 36% of them, and the yttrium-rich heavy rare earth mineral resources are more worldwide.
Secondly, the separation ability of mining and smelting is strong. According to Merchants Securities analysts, China occupies an absolute leading position in rare earth mining, smelting, separation and purification, and has a strong voice. In 2018, the global output of rare earth minerals was about 195,000 tons, and China's output was about 120,000 tons, accounting for 62%; the global output of rare earth smelting and separation was about 146,000 tons, of which China's output was 125,000 tons, accounting for 86%. The reporter learned from the Ganzhou Bureau of Industry and Information Technology that Ganzhou has been mining and processing ion-type rare earth for more than 40 years, and has been leading the field of ion-type rare earth in China. In the south, the technological research of rare earth mining, separation and metal smelting is in the international leading level, and the industrial scale accounts for one third of the total amount of the country.
Thirdly, the application chain continues to extend. With the advantages of resources and smelting separation, China's rare earth industry chain continues to expand. Taking Nd-Fe-B permanent magnet materials, which are the most widely used rare earth materials, as an example, China's Nd-Fe-B output has approached 90% of the world's total, and the high-end Nd-Fe-B output has approached 60% of the global total.
"But we also need to see our shortcomings." Liu Jiaxiang, former president of Hunan Rare Earth Research Institute, said that due to the late start of research on rare earth technology in China, it has been "ahead of the pack" in many fields abroad. In many rare earth products, although the production capacity is the largest, the technology patents are basically foreign. For example, in the field of permanent magnet materials with the most extensive application of rare earth, domestic enterprises not only have to pay patent fees to produce permanent magnet motors, but also are limited by the number of exports stipulated in the agreement.
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