NANCHANG, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Acquisition and company integration to form the China South Rare Earth Group has been ratified by an expert panel, authorities said Wednesday.
The group was jointly established by Ganzhou Rare Earth Group, Jiangxi Copper Group and Jiangxi Rare Earth and Rare Metals Tungsten Group in April 2015 in Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, as part of measures to promote resource integration by integrating companies into larger entities.
According to Li Zhuxing, vice chairman of Ganzhou Rare Earth Group, the group's merger work passed a review by experts during an inspection conference organized by Jiangxi Commission of Industry and Information Technology Monday.
With investment of 1 billion yuan (150.5 million U.S. dollars), the group has merged 24 rare earth companies, and formed a complete industrial chain covering rare earth exploration, smelting, processing, trade and research.
The group boosts the ability to mine 43,600 tonnes of raw rare earth per year and to smelt and separate 59,200 tonnes of the minerals annually.
Zhang Fengkui, an official with the Association of China Rare Earth Industry, said the formation of the group can restructure the industry and improve the efficiency of the utilization of resources.
China is the world's largest rare earth producer and exporter, but the industry is beset by a slew of problems, such as illegal mining, smuggling and a lack of competitiveness due to weak research and development. Excessive exploration has also caused environmental damage.
The State Council, China's cabinet, issued a guideline in 2011 to improve the management of the industry, which included a crackdown on illegal mining and encouraging mergers.