Japan, Vietnam Press Forward on Rare Earths; China Tallies Cost of Environmental Clean-up

Japan and Vietnam have made further progress on plans to build nuclear plants in Vietnam and develop supplies of rare earth metals, according to a ZDNet Asia story.

Japan’s foreign ministry said this followed the two leaders’ second meeting in about five months over the weekend. 

Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung said he expected Japan to construct “the safest nuclear reactors using its cutting-edge technology”, according to Kyoto News Agency story.

On their cooperation to develop supplies of rare earth metals, the leaders said efforts would be made to continue to progress, said the report. Japan is keen to develop supplies of the elements with Vietnam and its regional neighbors, as China controls more than 90 percent of the global supply, according to ZDNet.

“In March, the European Union joined Japan and the United States in submitting an official complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to challenge China’s export restrictions on rare earth materials, which are critical components for the manufacturing of high-tech products. China, in response, has said it will deal with the dispute within the WTO’s legal boundaries, ZDNet wrote.

Meanwhile, the green future made possible through the mining of rare earth metals continues to ravage the Chinese countyside around Zhang Yang’e, according to a story in CRJEnglish.com 

In Dongon, Longnan and other counties of Ganzhou, illegal mining – albeit on a relative small scale – continues, despite a government-ordered shutdown that came into effect last October.

According to Su Bo, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, repairing the environmental damage in Ganzhou will cost some 38 billion yuan, according to CRJEnglish.com.

 “By contrast, the province’s rare earth industry only reaped 6.4 billion yuan in 2011,” according to the story. “At the Zudong rare earth mine in London, an eight-million-yuan experimental project is being undertaken to reclaim on of the land, with the project’s administrators mixing bags of soil with grass seeds.”