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India 'Not Reliant on China for Rare Earth Minerals'

© AP Photo / Felipe DanaLarge Icebergs float away as the sun rises near Kulusuk, Greenland, Aug. 16, 2019.
Large Icebergs float away as the sun rises near Kulusuk, Greenland, Aug. 16, 2019. - Sputnik India, 1920, 14.12.2022
China is the world’s biggest producer of rare earth elements (REEs), used in electronics and semiconductor manufacturing, precision weapons and GPS systems among others.
India's Minister of State (MoS) Science and Technology Jitendra Singh has said that New Delhi does not “rely on China for access to rare earth minerals”, a group of 17 elements with wide-ranging military and civilian applications.
Singh told Parliament during Question Hour on Wednesday that India has the capacity and capability to mine, process, extract, refine and produce some of the rare earth minerals on its own, and that the country is also involved in efforts to augment its overall "rare earth value chain".

“A rare earth theme park is being set up which will improve the scientific principles proved at laboratory to pilot scale and demonstrate the same to aspiring industries willing to set up commercial operations. Besides, the theme park will also undertake skill development activities to develop the workforce of the future,” the minister announced.

The tanker Sun Arrows loads its cargo of liquefied natural gas from the Sakhalin-2 project in the port of Prigorodnoye, Russia, on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. - Sputnik India, 1920, 13.12.2022
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Singh further informed the Parliament that the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), a subsidiary of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), was involved in augmenting resources for the development of REEs such as monazite and xenotime in different parts of the country.
According to the minister, the AMD has established the presence of 13.07 million tonnes of monazite, around 775,000 tonnes of rare earth elements oxide (REO) and more than 2,000 tonnes of heavy mineral concentrate comprising 2 percent xenotime in different parts of the country.
The production of monazite remained the primary source of rare earth mineral in India, with production of 4,000 metric tonnes per annum.
Singh said that the domestic capacity for monazite production was around 10,000 metric tonnes per annum, but the capacity was underutilized because of various factors such as the non-grant of mining leases and lack of environment clearances.
Although India has the world’s fifth biggest deposit of rare earths, it has traditionally relied on China for the finished minerals which could be used in various industries.
However, there have lately been calls within India to reduce reliance on Chinese imports of these metals in view of border tensions between New Delhi and Beijing as well as supply chain disruptions caused by escalating rivalry between Washington and Beijing.
In 2020, Beijing sanctioned export control legislation to regulate production and export of rare earth metals.
Last month, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) asked the federal government to set-up an ‘India Rare Earths Mission’ under which private sector players are encouraged to mine these strategic minerals and sources of supply are diversified.