November 29, 2010 / 11:09 AM / 9 years ago

Japan's Sojitz says rare-earth cargoes left China

TOKYO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Sojitz Corp (2768.T), Japan’s sixth-biggest trading house, said its rare-earth cargos from China will arrive in Japan on Tuesday, confirming the end of a de-facto suspension by Beijing on exports of the key minerals since late September.

Japan’s trade minister Akihiro Ohata said last week that Japan-bound rare earth shipments had left China, but no big Japanese trading firms confirmed the shipments.

Sojitz, Japan’s top handler of rare earths, said that four cargoes with total shipments of 66 tonnes of rare earth left Shanghai and Tianjin ports on Nov 27th and 28th.

Japanese companies have complained of restrictions on shipments of the minerals by Chinese customs officials since late September amid a spat over disputed islands in the East China Sea. [ID:nTOE6AI00]

China produces 97 percent of the world’s rare earth metals, which are vital for making auto parts and high-tech products.

Sojitz last week announced a tie-up with a mining company in Australia on the supply of rare earth metals. [ID:nTOE6AM06R] (Reporting by Yuko Inoue; Editing by Keiron Henderson)

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