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Experts from China expected next month to help kick-start Philippines' rare-earth elements program

Courtesy of means BUSINESS

MANILA, Philippines – Experts from state-run China Geological Survey will visit next month to kick-start Manila’s bid to mine for rare earth elements (REE), which are used in the manufacture of mobile phones, motor vehicles, weapons systems, among other modern equipment. 

“China will help us not only in field works, but also in the upgrading of our equipment, which will help us to determine the commercial quantity of REE in the country,” Leo Jasareno, director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said.

“We have already found potential areas to explore and these areas are also close to copper-gold mines. We can say Palawan and Mindanao are the best places to start. But we still have to see if we have enough resource to start a commercial production,” Jasareno said.

The government is setting aside P20 million for its REE exploration and development program, with bulk of the fund to come from China. The Philippine REE program comes in the wake of Beijing’s decision to limit exports of the sought-after minerals by 27 percent, a move that has alarmed importers like Japan.

China accounts for 97 percent of the world’s REE supply. Its decision to restrict exports has led to a jump in REE prices in the last two years.