The largest rare earth new material industrial park in China is expected to be built in Baotou, the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, promoted by technological innovation and the "Made in China 2025" strategy.
"The national-level new material park is planned with a total area of 470 square kilometers, supported by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the autonomous region," said He Weihua, deputy mayor of Baotou, at the Ninth China Baotou Rare Earth Industry Forum on Monday.
Aimed at promoting global cooperation and exchanges in related trade, manufacturing, research and applications, the forum is a high-end meeting of leaders in the rare earth industry; This year's topic is scientific and technological innovation.
"China's rare earth mining, selection, metallurgy and the research of some materials are at the leading position globally," Li Chunlong, chairman of China Rare Earth Association, said at the forum, stressing that the fundamental ways to develop the sector lie in application.
The rare earth park will concentrate on the application of six kinds of new materials, including nanometers, high-polymer, new types of fiber, new graphite and highly purified rare earth metal materials, He said.
The city has laid out a program of highly purified rare earth metal materials covering an area of 0.45 square kilometers, with annual output of 30,000 metric tons, which is expected to be the largest highly purified rare earth materials area in the world.
Rare earth metal materials are widely used in sectors including aerospace, defense, robotics and medical instruments.
Several projects have made significant achievements at the park: Shenhua Group's coal-to-olefin projects with investment of 34 billion yuan (.07 billion) have realized revenue of 13 billion yuan.
A stainless steel project invested in by Mintal Group, a metallurgical joint venture held by China Minmetals and Goldman Sachs, is expected to achieve a revenue of 22 billion yuan, after being put into operation.
Until now, the area with infrastructure facilities including communication, natural gas and industrial water, has reached 25 square kilometers, with a strong ability to increase capacity and attract investment.
In 2016, the park's accumulated industrial output reached 37.15 billion yuan, rising 27.8 percent year-on-year, and the revenue has reached 55 billion yuan, surging 40.9 percent compared with that in 2015.
The rare earth industrial reserve in Baotou has been demonstrated to be about 43.5 million tons, accounting for 83.7 percent of the total reserve in China and 38 percent in the world.
The rare earth new material industry developed fast in Baotou in recent years, with 71 transformation and upgrading projects conducted in 2015-16, supported by special funds from the central government.
President Xi Jinping has repeatedly given instructions to accelerate the development of the new material industry, said a senior official at the forum.
Last December, the State Council set up a national new material development leading group, showing that the government attaches great importance to the development of the industry.