According to Japanese importers, the shipments have been withheld since early September, apparently due to increased paperwork and inspections in the Chinese ports. The rare earth minerals ban started when Japan arrested the Captain of a Chinese fishing vessel after his ship collided patrol boats near disputed islands.
Milton Financials’ data shows that China’s rare earth mineral production presently accounts for 97% of the global total. These minerals are essential in the production of many high-tech items including cell phones, computer components, rechargeable batteries and hybrid vehicles.
China has denied the export ban.
As a result of the disruption in supplies of the minerals, Japan is looking at becoming a recycling centre for the metals and has approached several other countries in the region, including Australia, Vietnam and Mongolia to consider partnerships in developing new mines.
After the collision in the East China Sea, which sent relations between the two nations to their lowest levels in years, China briefly severed ministerial-
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