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Malaysia Joins List of Countries Restricting Exports of Rare Metals

Published: 9.18.2023

Malaysia plans to enact a policy to ban the export of rare earth raw materials, to safeguard resources against exploitation and maintain resource sovereignty, as announced by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim reported by Reuters.

Malaysia possesses a modest fraction of the world's rare earth reserves, approximately 30,000 metric tons, according to the United States Geological Survey. The nation stands as a prominent producer of rare earth concentrates, used in the production of rare earth metals.

These rare earth metals play are essential in various products, including smartphones, computers, electric vehicles, and renewable energy technologies. China has long dominated the global rare earth metal market and, in the past, employed its market influence to impose export restrictions.

Prime Minister Anwar emphasized that Malaysia's proposal to prohibit the export of rare earth raw materials will serve to ensure that the nation's resources are harnessed for the benefit of its domestic economy.

"We need to ensure that our resources are channeled towards creating high-value job opportunities and industries within Malaysia," stated Anwar during his parliamentary address. "By ceasing the export of rare earth raw materials, we can stimulate the growth of a domestic rare earth industry."

Although Anwar did not specify the timeline for implementing the proposed export ban, he indicated that the government is actively formulating a comprehensive strategy to foster the development of Malaysia's rare earth industry.

Malaysia's proposed ban on the export of rare earth raw materials aligns with a broader global trend of countries imposing restrictions on the shipment of critical minerals. In recent years, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United States have implemented new regulations governing the export of minerals such as nickel, cobalt, and lithium.

This shift towards restricting mineral exports stems from concerns related to resource security and the aspiration to cultivate domestic supply chains for critical minerals.

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