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Distributed: Jan 4, 2012

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Toronto, Jan 4, 2012 (ABN Newswire) - Avalon Rare Metals Inc. (TSE:AVL) (NYSE:AVL) has released the following industry bulletin titled "Chinese Ministry of Commerce Announces Rare-Earth Export-Quota Allocations For 2012".

In our ongoing efforts to provide you with broader communications and industry information, we are pleased to issue this Industry Bulletin, which reports on the December 27, 2011 announcement by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (the "Ministry") on the first round of allocations of rare-earth export quotas for 2012. The announcement stated generally that, "In order to protect international demand and maintain the basic stability of rare-earth supplies, the total export quotas for 2012 and 2011 will be basically the same."

The Ministry's announcement disclosed that the first round of quota allocations (totaling 24,904 tonnes of rare earth oxides) will represent 80% of the quota allocations for 2012; which implies that the total for the coming year will be 31,130 tonnes of rare earths, slightly higher than for 2011. The following table summarized the annual export quotas, as they have been declared over the past eight years, showing that annual quotas have stabilized over the past two years reversing a six year trend of reduced annual quotas going back to 2005.

Export quotas for the Chinese rare-earth industry Source: Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Metal-Pages and IMCOA
---------------------------------------
          2005    2006    2007    2008   
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TOTAL 
(Tonnes) 65,609  61,821  59,643  56,939
---------------------------------------
---------------------------------------
          2009    2010    2011    2012
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TOTAL 
(Tonnes) 50,145  30,258  30,246  31,130
---------------------------------------

Interestingly, this year's announcement differs from previous years by providing a full year target quota rather than six month quotas and by defining separate quota allocations for light rare earth elements (LREs) and medium / heavy rare earth elements (MREs/HREs), evidently in an effort to better balance the export market.

First set of allocations of Chinese rare-earth export quotas, for 2012
-----------------------------------------
Allocation Type       Allocation (tonnes) 
                    LRE    MRE/HRE  Total
-----------------------------------------
Confirmed          9,095   1,451   10,546
-----------------------------------------
Provisional       12,605   1,753   14,358 
-----------------------------------------
Total             21,700   3,204   24,904
-----------------------------------------
The Ministry also introduced a new approach to allocating the quotas designed to encourage improved environmental practice amongst producers. Some of the annual allocations are being made only on a provisional basis subject to meeting new pollution control regulations, by July 2012. Companies that fail to meet the new requirements will apparently have their quotas re-allocated to other companies. It is currently expected that sometime during the summer of 2012, details of which companies will be allocated the remaining 20 per cent of quotas will be released.

Reaction to the announcement from industry watchers has been mixed. Gareth Hatch, co-founder of Technology Metals Research, notes,"The industry is well aware that the significant price increases for individual rare earth products were key in eroding demand over 2011, with lanthanum- and cerium-based products seeing the largest declines in demand. It is possible that the authorities in China see prices falling much further than the recent decreases that we've seen, to such low levels that the demand for exports will return to 2009 / 2010 levels, which would "fill out" the 2012 quota allocations." Gareth Hatch's detailed commentary can be found at http://www.techmetalsresearch.com/2011/12/the-first-round-of-chinese-rare-earth-export-quota-allocations-for-2012/.

Other analysts and writers are divided on the reasons behind the rise in the export quota, with some suggesting China was bowing to pressure from trading partners, and others suggesting it was a response to China's domestic economic slowdown.China's control over global rare-earth supply, and its actions over the past six years in reducing its export quotas while global REE demand grew, has caused a surge in prices over the past two years.

Pierre Neatby, Avalon's Vice President, Sales and Marketing notes that, "Thirty-thousand tonnes per annum is the number the Chinese have been saying is a good number for the next few years. The lower quota in the first half may in part be due to the Chinese wanting to stop the price slide. While it can be expected that these export quotas could likely lead to continued near-term pricing pressures on rare earths, even at much lower rare earth prices, we are confident that the longer-term outlook for the overall industry remains bright, especially for the more scarce heavy rare earths."


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About Avalon Rare Metals Inc.

Avalon Rare Metals Inc (TSE:AVL)Avalon Rare Metals Inc. (TSE:AVL) (NYSEMKT:AVL) is a mineral development company focused on rare metal deposits in Canada. Its flagship project, the 100%-owned Nechalacho Deposit, Thor Lake, NWT is exceptional in its large size and enrichment in the scarce 'heavy' rare earth elements, key to enabling advances in clean technology and other growing high-tech applications. With a positive feasibility study and environmental assessment completed, Nechalacho remains the most advanced potential large new source of heavy rare earths in the world outside of China, currently the source of over 95% of the world supply. Avalon is well funded, has no debt and its work programs are progressing steadily. Social responsibility and environmental stewardship are corporate cornerstones.


Contact

Avalon Rare Metals Inc.
Communications and Investor Relations
Virginia Morgan, Director
T: +1-416-364-4938
F: +1-416-364-5162
E: ir@avalonraremetals.com
http://www.avalonraremetals.com


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