China cuts exports in environmental crackdown

Hard drive prices to rise following rare earth shortage

Hard drives prices will reportedly rise by as much as 10 per cent following export restrictions on so-called ‘rare earth’ elements vital for many forms of electronics.

Hard drive manufacturers said that the worst hit would be 500GB models which could see prices increase by 10 per cent in the third quarter 2011, according to a DigiTimes report.

Larger 1TB drives will to be impacted as much with prices rising by around 5 per cent according to sources within the hard drive manufacturing industry quoted by the DigiTimes.

China produces the vast bulk of the world’s rare earth elements but following a 40 per cent reduction in exports from the middle kingdom, prices have increased by 20 to 30 times.

The Chinese government has been criticised as politicising the supply of rare earths such as a temporary ban in exports to Japan following a local waters dispute.

Last year China announced a crack down on the illegal mining of rare earths in an effort to curb the environmental fall out. Open cut mining and toxic discharges from the refining process are some of the environmentally damaging aspects of the industry.

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