China's largest rare earths producer, Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Hi-Tech Co., Ltd. said Wednesday its production suspension aims to maintain equipment and stabilize prices of the metals.
"It is the company's decision to halt production as the company has not exhausted its annual production quotas set by the government," Zhang Zhong, the company's general manager, said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.
The move is an effort to prop up the falling prices and stabilize the market by limiting supplies, Zhang said.
According to Zhang, transaction prices of some rare earths products have declined about 20 percent from their peaks in July.
Because of a prosperous market early this year, the company had postponed its annual equipment examination and maintenance, and it would become late if the company did not hurry, Zhang said.
The company announced a halt to its smelting and separation of rare earths for one month, starting from Wednesday.
Share prices of the company plunged 3.98 percent to 45.61 yuan (7.16 U.S. dollars) in the morning session Wednesday.