A major rare earth production group has been formed in China’s Jiangxi Province to foster the sustainable development of rare earths, official state news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday.

Thirty-six percent of China’s middle and heavy rare earth reserves are in Ganzhou. “From now on, Ganzhou will step up efforts to facilitate the merging and restructuring of the rare earth industry, Ganzhou Vice-Mayor Jiu Jianping told Xinhua.

The state-owned Ganzhou Rare-Earth Group was formed through the merging of its subsidiary Ganzhou Rare Earth Mineral Industry Co. and local rare earth companies including Longnan Wanbao Rare Earth Co. As the only rare earths mining company in Ganzhou, Ganzhou Rare Earth Group will be involving in mining, smelting, processing and trade.

In January, China’s ministry of Industry and Information Authority, along with 11 other agencies, said in a guideline that the government is encouraging mergers in the rare earth sector. The nation’s number one rare earth producer, the Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare Earth Hi-Tech Co. announced in December that it would seek control of another 12 rare earth businesses to form a megacompany.

However, earlier this week Baotou Steel Rare-Earth announced its net profit dropped 56% last year as a result of continuous low demand in the rare earth market and a decline in rare earth prices.

Another major rare earth producer, China Minmetals Rare Earth Company announced on March 26 that its net profit had plunged 74% last year.