India to resume rare earth production after 7 years | www.commodityonline.com | 3 NEW DELHI (Commodity Online) : Asiaâ€™s third largest economy, India stepped up efforts to boost domestic production of rare earth minerals by allotting $32 million to set up a 5000 metric tons plant in the eastern state of Orissa. Indian Rare Earths Limited (IRE) had received environmental clearance to produce the hi-tech minerals at the plant to resume operations after closing down in 2004 in the face of cheaper competition from China. China, increasingly flexing its muscle on the international stage, announced export cuts this year that pushed prices higher and triggered a rush to find alternative supplies. China now provides 97% of global supply and is home to one third of the world's total reserves. The United States and Australia, which also have sizeable reserves, slashed production because of lower prices as a result of what they termed overproduction in China. As China brought down its exports, prices on the international market have surged. India imports all its current requirements from China and uses the precious metals in consumer goods industries, petroleum refineries and the automobile sector. In a bid to counter the fall in exports from China, several companies have got into rare earth production in India. Toyota Tsusho, a part of Toyoto Motors, is setting up a rare earth processing plant in Vishakapatnam, reportedly with a partial supply of mixed rare earth chloride from Indian Rare Earths. German chemical giant BASF and Indian Oil Corporation are also said to have plans to produce rare earth minerals from catalysts used in the petroleum refinery sector.