China Rare Earth Imports from Myanmar Total 9,217 tonnes in 2019 H1

Jul. 18, 2019

Imports from Myanmar spike in May before being banned entirely

According to data from China’s General Administration of Customs, from January 1st through May 15th of this year China imported 9,217 tonnes of mixed rare earth concentrate from neighboring Myanmar, after which trade stopped as China’s Yunnan Tengchong Customs banned imports of rare earths from the nation.

With the impending ban known in China, imports of concentrate spiked in May to 3,284 tonnes, an increase of 29% over the same month the year prior, as companies rushed product across the border while still legally permissible.

In 2018, China imported approximately 25,000 tonnes of mixed rare earth concentrate from Myanmar, making the nation an important supplier of feedstock to mid/heavy rare earth separation companies in China’s south.

Last year we estimate that mine output in Myanmar was responsible for about 32% of total global dysprosium and terbium production, and approximately 13% of neodymium and praseodymium production, so the absence of this feedstock in China since May is adding support for higher prices of some rare earths.

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