Rare Earth Stocks Mixed as China Argues It's Cooperating with WTO Standards (MCP) (AVL) (REE)

April 26, 2012 10:51 AM EDT
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The stocks of rare earth producers are moving higher Thursday morning following reports China will soon be issuing a response to World Trade Organization (WTO) requests for more environmentally-friendly rules.

According to China Daily, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is making a plea that export quotas were set in place in to diminish environmental risks stemming from unregulated development in the rare earth industry (in contrast to a belief China has been manipulating rare earth prices). China expects to cooperate with other nations in efforts to recycle rare earth minerals as well as performing R&D.

One rep from the Chinese Society of Rare Earths said "other countries" requests are "unreasonable," and the commodities' increasing prices reflect market conditions. Zhang said he hopes the prices will eventually take into account the possibility of environmental pollution," according to the Daily.

The MIIT noted processing 1 ton of rare earth minerals requires several tons of strong acid, resulting in a recovery rate less than 50 percent.

Separately, other reports suggest China is aiming to allocate value-added tax permits for companies operating in Inner Mongolia and Sichuan as a way to stem overproduction of rare earths. The process will begin on May 1st.

On the news, Molycorp (NYSE: MCP) shares are about 0.6 percent lower, while Avalon Rare Minerals (AMEX: AVL) and Rare Element Resources (AMEX: REE) shares are higher on the session.

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