April 02, 2020

Rare earth environmental protection standards introduced this year

The world's first pollutant emission standard for rare earth industrial industry is coming soon.
On the 5th, Wang Guozhen, former deputy dean of the China Nonferrous Metal Engineering Design and Research Institute, participated in the drafting of "Rare Earth Industrial Pollutants Emission Standards" (hereinafter referred to as standards). It is expected that the standards will be introduced this year, and all ministries and commissions have solicited opinions. At present, Still waiting for the review of the National Standardization Management Committee.
Wang Guozhen estimated that after the introduction of the standard, it is expected that the cost of environmental protection in the rare earth industry will be doubled.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection has adopted the data of the Ministry of Environmental Protection website in principle. On December 30, 2010, Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian presided over the MEP's executive meeting and passed the “Rare Earth Industrial Pollutant Emission Standard” in principle.
As a rare earth industry expert, Wang Guozhen served as a senior consultant for standards development. According to Wang Guozhen's analysis, the reason why the price of rare earths in China in the 1990s and 2008 was lower and sold as “radio price and pork price” was mainly because the utilization of rare earth was not included in the “environmental protection cost”, and the production process and equipment were also relatively backward.
It is understood that around 2003, many international rare earth mines stopped production due to environmental protection and cost issues, including rare earth mines of Molycorp and Rhodia.
According to Wang Guozhen, many rare earth companies in China have not invested much in radiation protection, vegetation restoration, tailings storage, and smelting protection. However, these measures cannot be adopted without foreign countries.
Rare earth is a collective name for 17 elements and is considered as a key raw material for manufacturing high-tech products and military products. It is understood that over the past 15 years, China has supported more than 90% of global exports of rare earths. According to statistics of the US Geological Bureau, in the past 15 years, China's rare earth resources have dropped from 43% of the world's total to only 31%.
1 to 2 years of buffer period It is worth noting that in 2010, Japan, the United States and Europe have accused China of restricting the export of rare earths. Some analysts said that for the government that plans to re-integrate the domestic rare earth industry, the introduction of standards will not only help increase the concentration of rare earth industries, but also relieve the pressure of international public opinion.
This reporter learned that the standard stipulates the characteristics of rare earth industrial companies, production processes and installations of water pollutants, air pollutant emissions limits and so on.
According to Wang Guozhen, the standards are very strict. “In the special emission limits for water pollutants, the ammonia nitrogen limit is 15 milligrams, originally limited to 25 milligrams, but many companies have exceeded this figure. Judging from the current actual situation, many domestic rare earth smelting Separation companies cannot achieve this standard."
The Economic Observer Online quoted experts as saying on the 5th, "According to the contents of the draft that is currently under review, 90% of the smelting and separation enterprises in the country fail to meet the environmental protection standards."
For the implementation of the standard, Wang Guozhen said that after the introduction of the standard, the original production capacity still has 1 to 2 years of rectification period, but the new production capacity must be strictly in accordance with the standard operation, "Most companies need to replace new processes and equipment," in the process The operation also needs to increase environmental protection investment.
Wang Guozhen also disclosed that many companies have “objections”, but many companies also promote stricter environmental standards. “Some companies have even proposed ammonia nitrogen limits of 10 milligrams,” because these companies have more advanced processes and equipment, and The new process equipment does not have to invest too much money. The key is the investment in personnel operations.

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