By Ian Swanson - 12/28/10 06:45 PM EST
The allotment is nearly 2,000 metric tons fewer than the first allotment of 16,304 metric tons released at the beginning of last year. China generally issues two rounds of quotas each year.
Earlier this year, press reports indicated that China would restrict shipments of rare-earth minerals to the United States, as it has done in Japan. The reports sparked concern among U.S. lawmakers that there is no domestic supply of the minerals.
The United States's best hope for domestic production lies in the efforts of a company called Molycorp, which is working to restart mining at a rare-earth mine in California that was shuttered in 2002. Molycorp hopes to begin mining rare earths at the Mountain Pass mine next year.
Shares of Molycorp rose nearly 11 percent after China announced its decision, according to a report in Reuters.