Malaysia plans to ban exports of rare earth raw materials, according to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, becoming the latest country seeking to restrict shipments of materials that are in high demand for the green energy transition.

Anwar, speaking to parliament on Monday, said the government will develop an export ban policy “to prevent exploitation and loss of resources, thereby guaranteeing maximum returns for the country.” 

He said the policy would help drive development of the mineral industry, but didn’t say when a ban would come into effect.

Malaysia is the latest country seeking to restrict shipments of the key minerals used in everything from lithium-ion batteries to electric vehicles. China, the world’s bigger producer of rare earths, recently announced curbs of some critical metals used in the semiconductor industry. 

The curbs have been viewed as Beijing using its dominant role in the metals to hit back at US and European efforts to stymie China’s chip industry. Western governments are trying to reduce their reliance on the Asian giant for a swathe of critical minerals.