Rare Earth is Hot Topic in Japan-Mongolia Summit

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tokyo - Japan and Mongolia agreed today on accelerating their joint study, launched in June, to begin FTA negotiations, and cooperate in the development of natural resources such as rare earths minerals used in the production of high-tech products.

Under a statement issued by Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj after their talks in Tokyo, the two countries agreed to strategically pursue the development of Mongolia's minerals for the benefit of both countries.

Rare earths are used in the production of high-tech products such as cell phones, digital cameras, flat-panel televisions and hybrid vehicles. China currently accounts for about 97 percent of the world's rare earth supply.

The statement also said Mongolia is keen on supporting Japanese companies with advanced technologies to develop natural resources in the country.

Before the meeting, Mongolian President Elbegdorj said at the Japan National Press Club before wrapping up his five-day official visit to Japan that the Japanese private sector has already started exploring for rare earth minerals in his country. He added that Japanese mining interests in Mongolia are important for the country to strike a diplomatic balance with its neighbors China and Russia.

The Mongolian president said that his country welcomes Japanese investment by setting criteria which are favorable to Japanese companies.

He also stressed his country's geographical advantage in attracting foreign investment, saying investors would have easy access to China and Russia, two fast-growing economies.

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