Government officials in China have reportedly ordered three rare earth mines to halt extraction by year's end. According to Xinhua, Jiangxi, a province in southern China, has reportedly issued a notice to three of its eight major rare earth-producing counties ordering the halt, says Li Guoqing, director of the mining management bureau in Ganzhou, China.

At this time, it's unknown when mining operations will resume, as individual counties must wait for directives from the provincial government. Jiangxi province extracts nearly 40 percent of the country's rare earths. Fortunately, recent findings suggest rare earths are abundant, especially beneath the Pacific Ocean, so China's rare earth reserves now only account for approximately one-third of the world's total. Be that as it may, China supplies an estimated 90 percent of the world's rare earth metals today, so if mining operations there came to a halt – or even just slowed down – a rare earth shortage could be the result, at least for a while.

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