CHINA exported 16,265 tons of rare-earth ore, metals and compounds last year, falling below the annual export quota of 30,966 tons, according to official data.
The exports last year also marked a 3.5 percent decline from the export volume in 2011, according to data released by the China Customs Statistics Information Center. In December, China exported 3,252 tons of rare-earth ore, metals and compounds.
China has imposed a quota system to curb production and exports to conserve resources and protect the environment after decades of excessive exploitation.
Last month, the Ministry of Commerce set the first batch of rare earth export quotas for 2013 at 15,501 tons, which will be shared by 24 companies. The ministry said that will account for about half of the full-year quota.
The value of China's exports of the rare earths tumbled 66.1 percent to US$906 million last year, Customs data showed.
The prices of rare earths, which had surged for years because of supply concerns, have fallen sharply since late 2011 due to waning demand and increased supply. China is the world's dominant supplier of rare earths, a group of 17 chemical elements used in high-tech products, although the country holds less than a quarter of the world's reserves.
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