China establishes new state-owned rare earth giant
Updated 07:26, 24-Dec-2021
China Minmetals Corporation in Beijing. /CFP

China Minmetals Corporation in Beijing. /CFP

China has established a new rare earth giant through a merger of top state-owned operations, according to a statement issued by China Minmetals Rare Earth, the rare earth arm of China Minmetals Corporation, on Wednesday.

Companies in the merger include China Minmetals Rare Earth, China's largest aluminum producer Aluminum Corporation of China (Chinalco) and Ganzhou Rare Earth Group. They will each hold 20.33 percent in the new group, while the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission will own 31.21 percent.

Read more: Graphics: Why all eyes are on China's rare earths

China Minmetals Rare Earth and Chinalco are two of the "Big Six" state-owned enterprises that dominate the rare earth industry in China, the world's top producer of the 17 minerals used in consumer electronics and military equipment.

The controlling shareholder of the new company is still China Minmetals Rare Earth, and the actual controller will be changed into the new company, according to the statement.

In September, China Minmetals Rare Earth announced the potential restructuring plan in a filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

China is the world's largest supplier for rare earths, a series of elements that are essential components of global supply chains. 

With magnetic and optical properties, rare earths are used in small doses to produce powerful effects, giving them the nickname "vitamins of chemistry." They are crucial raw materials in consumer products like smartphones and electric vehicles.

China is the primary source of rare earths for most countries. In 2018, the country held 37 percent of the world's rare earth reserves, and produced 71 percent of global supply. It is also the only country that can provide all 17 rare earth elements.

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