Malaysia to ban exports of rare earths as demand soars amid trade row

Malaysia will work on creating a rule to hinder exports of “precious earth raw materials” to halt exploitation and loss of resources, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Monday. Malaysia is a place which is rich in the world’s rare earth reserves with 30,000 tonnes, information from the United States Geological Survey in 2019 unveiled.

China is the largest source with an approximate 44 million tonnes of reserves. The decision, however, happens to come as nations look to divert away from China, the world’s hugest creator of the prominent rare earth minerals that are required so much in semiconductor chips, electric vehicles and military equipment. Datuk Seri Anwar said the government will help the growth of the rare earth industry in Malaysia and that a hindrance would “promise maximum returns for the nation”.

He revealed nothing about when it would come into effect. The rare earth industry is anticipated to give as much as RM9.5 billion (S$2.8 billion) to Malaysia’s gross domestic product in 2025 and create around 7,000 job opportunities, he conveyed in Parliament. “In depth mapping of rare earth element sources and a comprehensive business model that collaborates upstream, midstream and downstream industries will be grown to maintain the rare earth value chain in the nation,” he said. Australia’s Lynas Rare Earths, the hugest creator of rare earths which are not a part of China, has a plant in Malaysia to process concentrate from its Australian result.