China has been stockpiling rare earths for its strategic reserves, tightening the country's grip on the resource used in making high-tech equipment such as advanced electronics and automobiles, a state-owned newspaper said.
According to the China Securities Journal on Thursday, Beijing has already started the program, but it not elaborate exactly when it began.
The current low prices for rare earths was what triggered the purchases, said the newspaper.
It noted that China had previously announced its intentions to build such a strategic reserve, but has not publicly announced when it would do so.
China produces over 90 percent of the world's rare earths supply. Its recent moves to tighten the export of the material has led to an international outcry led by the European Union, Japan and the United States.
Last week, the Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), along with the European Union and Japan, asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a dispute settlement panel to rule on U.S. claims over China's "unfair" exports of rare earth materials.