China Rare Earths Exports Drop 15.9% In May
Scrap Register reported that rare earth exports by China, the world's dominant producer, fell 15.9% in May from a month earlier amid an increased focus on the raw materials due to the China-US trade war. According to preliminary data published by China's General Administration of Customs, China's rare earth exports fell to 3,640 tonnes in May from 4,329 tonnes a month earlier.
It said that cumulative exports of rare earth during the first five months of 2019 totaled 19,265.8 tonnes, down 7.24% as compared to 20,769.8 tonnes in the corresponding period last year.
Source : Scrap Register
Australian Rare Earth Miners Push Development Deals To Counter China Grip
Reuters reported that Rare earth developers in Australia say they are edging closer to signing deals with new customers that would drive forward their projects amid mounting global supply concerns over the minerals that are crucial to high-tech industries. Australia contains only 2.8% of the world's rare earth reserves, according to the United States Geological Survey. However, the country accounts for more than half of the new projects in the global pipeline, according to data compiled by the Western Australian School of Mines at Curtin University.
Most of Australia's projects, however, have been stuck as developers struggle to secure financing because of the domination of China, which accounts for about 90% of global rare earths processing capacity and one-quarter of the world's reserves.
Even the projects closest to start-up are unlikely to begin operations until 2023 at the earliest, the WASM data shows.
Still, those projects may speed up amid the escalating trade war between the United States and China. The United States imports 80% of its rare earths from China, where state-owned news outlets have reported it could cut its shipments to the US as part of the dispute.
Northern Minerals, which is developing the Browns Range project in Australia's northwest, said last week that it was in "discussions with an internationally recognised industrial group" for supply.
A company spokesman said this week that "The level of interest has increased since the increased news focus on the issue.”
Hastings Technology, which is readying its Yangibana rare earths project in Western Australia for late 2021 production already has one preliminary supply agreement with Germany's Thyssenkrupp and signed another with automotive supplier Schaeffler AG last week.
Mr Charles Lew, Hastings' executive chairman said that "We are working on another German supply agreement which we expect to tie up this year.”
A Thyssenkrupp spokesman said last week that "in the area of rare earths we are regularly on the lookout for new partners to serve the growing global demand."
The reason rare earths projects outside of China have not advanced is because China's vast production, underpinned by cheaper labour and less stringent environmental regulations, means no one else can compete on cost, said WASM Professor Dudley Kingsnorth.
Australia's Lynas Corp, the world's only rare earths producer outside of China, has been supported by low interest loans from Japan's government. Last month Lynas outlined expansion plans including building a U.S. processing plant.
Source : Reuters
China To Roll Out Rare Earth Policies Soon
SMM reported that China is developing rare earth-related policies, and will roll out the policies "as soon as possible", according to Ms Meng Wei, spokeswoman for the National Development and Reform Commission at a press conference in Beijing on June 17. Ms Meng added that this is expected to improve the role of rare earth as strategic resources amid an ongoing dispute with the US over trade and tech. The government resolutely opposes any attempt to use products made with China's exported rare earths to hurt the country's development.
The comments further fueled market confidence in the rare earth sector after a slew of positive signals from central authorities since May.
Source : SMM
ISR Capital signs MOU with Chinese firm for Madagascar project
Business Times reported that ISR Capital has entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding with China Nonferrous Metal Industry’s Foreign Engineering and Construction Co to commence negotiations on potential developments for its 75% owned rare earth mining concession located in north-western Madagascar, Africa. The MOU sets out the framework for discussion, including the purchase by NFC of up to 3,000 tonnes of the Madagascar project’s output within the first three years of successfully commissioning production facilities. This is subject to the products meeting the quality requirements for the Chinese market, which will be determined by an independent surveyor.
Under the MOU, NFC will also provide engineering procurement and construction services, and potentially invest in the project. The MOU will expire two years from its commencement date.
NFC is a Chinese state-controlled company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, specialising in the fields of nonferrous metal industries and projects worldwide.
Source : Business Times
Trump Trade War - China Rare Earths Association Supports Actions against US
SMM reported that China's rare earths association would resolutely support the actions taken by the Chinese government to counter US tariffs. This came after the re-escalation of the trade tensions between Washington and Beijing, triggered by US President Donald Trump’s announcement last week that tariffs of 10% would be imposed on another USD 300 billion worth of Chinese goods.
The Association of China Rare Earth Industry expressed “firm opposition” to US tariff threats in the statement after a special working meeting on Monday August 5 to discuss the guidance given by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to a rare earth plant in Jiangxi in May.
Mr Xi's visit stoked fears that China may use rare earths as a weapon in the trade war with the US, given its dominance over the production of such materials, which are used in everything from consumer electronics to military equipment.
Source : SMM
Northern Minerals Offtake Agreement With thyssenkrupp
Australian heavy rare earths producer, Northern Minerals Limited announced that it has entered into an offtake agreement with thyssenkrupp Materials Trading Gmbh (thyssenkrupp), one of the world's leading raw material distributors from the Materials Services business area, for 100% of offtake from the Browns Range Pilot Plant Project. The new offtake agreement replaces the offtake agreement with Lianyugang Zeyu New Materials Sales Co Ltd, which has been terminated.
The agreement with thyssenkrupp is for the purchase of all heavy rare earth carbonate from the pilot plant project, with the flexibility for the Company to supply heavy rare earths as separated products in the future. The agreement with thyssenkrupp includes an intention for the parties to work together on implementing separating technologies at Browns Range and to work together in potential future expansions of the project.
The offtake agreement will commence immediately, with all current stockpiled product and future production included in the agreement.
Source : Strategic Research Institute
Brazil Minerals Announces Rare Earths Areas Comprising in Brazil
Brazil Minerals Inc announced that it now has rare earths areas comprising three mineral rights totaling 12,528 acres in Brazil. Two mineral rights are in the state of Goias and one mineral right is in the state of Tocantins. Brazil is one of only very few countries where rare earths are known to occur in concentrations allowing economic recovery. Mr Areli Nogueira, geological engineer of the project, stated, “This is a highly promising situation for Brazil Minerals. Of particular importance is the fact that we have strong indications that our Rare Earths Project contains the more sought-after heavy rare earths elements which are less commonly found.”
The term “rare earths” denotes a group of seventeen minerals which are needed in small amounts but essential in several high-technology applications including electric vehicles and military hardware. “Heavy” rare earths are a sub-group of these elements which include Gadolinium and Yttrium, among others. Brazil Minerals’ rare earths project claims and areas nearby have had prior studies performed by researchers from both the Brazilian Geological Service and a private university.
Source : Strategic Research Institute
Australian Lynas Gets Permission to Dispose of Radioactive Waste in Malaysia
ABC reported that an Australian mining company has been told to "get lost" and "go back to Australia" amid an ongoing row over hundreds of thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste piling up in Malaysia. Outside of China, the Australian firm, Lynas, is the world's only major producer of rare earth minerals, which are crucial in the production of high-tech gear including smartphones, laser-guided missiles and electric car batteries. The ore is dug up at Mount Weld in Western Australia and then shipped to Malaysia, where the cost of processing is significantly lower. The low-level radioactive waste is a by-product of the enrichment process and Malaysian activists are convinced it poses a threat to local communities.
At a recent protest in Kuantan, several hundred people rallied against the Australian firm and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's decision to extend its licence to operate.
Mr Moses Lim, a chemical engineer turned activist, said that "[The radioactivity] will be passed through our children and our children's children. We may be gone, but our grandchildren will curse us."
Mr Lim claimed the issue had the potential to "tarnish the good name of Australia" in the minds of millions of Malaysians. I don't understand why Lynas, an Australian company, does this to Malaysia.
Source : ABC
thyssenkrupp Materials Trading to Expand its Marketing Portfolio for Rare Earths
thyssenkrupp Materials Trading has signed an offtake agreement with Australian heavy rare earths producer Northern Minerals Limited. It gives the company, part of thyssenkrupp Materials Services, exclusive marketing rights to heavy rare earth carbonate, including dysprosium. Rare earths are used for example in mobile telephones, LED screens and magnets and are an essential component of new technologies such as e-mobility and renewable energies. Under this long-term offtake agreement thyssenkrupp Materials Trading will be the exclusive sales partner of Northern Minerals Limited, which has already commenced production of heavy rare earth carbonate at its Browns Range pilot plant in Western Australia. The agreement also includes cooperation on possible further beneficiation and separation of rare earths to produce rare earth oxides, and on the future expansion of the project.
Wolfgang Schnittker, CEO of thyssenkrupp Materials Trading, said “Northern Minerals Limited is one of the few suppliers of rare earths outside China, so we are really looking forward to successful collaboration. As the exclusive marketer of the high-quality products we have the opportunity to strengthen our customer relationships long-term and expand our positioning in this field.”
Source : Strategic Research Institute
Mr Trump Issues Executive Order on Rare Earth Mining
US President Mr Donald Trump on September 30 ordered his Cabinet secretaries to look into the country’s reliance on rare earths in his latest bid to end China’s dominance of the industry. The move could lead to tariffs, quotas or other possible import restrictions. While the United States used to be the leading producer of the minerals, China has used its heft in the industry to its advantage in the trade dispute between the two world leaders. The US imports 80 percent of these elements directly from China, with portions of the remainder indirectly sourced from China through other countries
Rare earths are an obscure group of 17 minerals used to build a range of goods including weapons and consumer electronics. There is no known substitute for them.
Source : STRATEGIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE
US DOE NETL Led Projects for Rare Earth Extraction from Coal
The US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management has awarded nearly USD 18 million to advance eight projects to extract rare earth elements and other critical minerals from materials such as coal waste materials and support revitalisation in regions across the country that face economic adversity due to declines in coal and power plants communities.
Each of the eight projects had previously worked with DOE to develop a conceptional design of a technology to produce at least 1-3 tonnes per day of mixed rare earth oxides or rare earth salts and other critical minerals from mostly coal-based sources. Rare earth elements and critical minerals are vital in the construction of medical equipment, energy components, defence technologies, modern electronics, and a host of other consumer goods.
The DOE recently exercised options to continue work on the eight projects to complete feasibility studies of their concepts. Each feasibility study, which will take 7 to 10 months to complete, and aims to accelerate the advancement of technology to extract these materials found in coal and coal waste products. The DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory managed the conceptional design phase of the contracts and will continue to manage the feasibility study phase.
The DOE exercised contract options to continue projects operated by: Energy Fuels Resources (Lakewood, Colorado); Materia USA LLC (Inwood, New York); MP Mine Operations LLC (Mountain Pass, California); Tetra Tech Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania); Texas Mineral Resources Corp. (Sierra Blanca, Texas); University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, North Dakota); West Virginia University Research Corporation (Morgantown, West Virginia); and Winner Water Services Inc. (Sharon, Pennsylvania).
Source - Strategic Research Institute
Nechalacho Rare Earth Mining Project Starts Production in Canada
CBC News reported that production has started at Canada's first rare earth mining project, located about 100 kilometres southeast of Yellowknife. Vital Metals Nechalacho rare earth elements mine says blasting and mining activities have ramped up, and that the first ore was mined on June 29. Cheetah Resources operates the project, and owns the resources near the surface of the rare earth deposit. It's a subsidiary of Australian company Vital Metals.
The mine is now in the midst of a smaller-scale three-year demonstration project. Phase two of the project will involve mining a much larger deposit.
Nechalacho is Canada's only rare earth elements mining project, aiming to produce end-products that will ultimately be used in technology manufacturing. According to Natural Resources Canada, the most important use for rare earth elements is making magnets that can be used in cell phones, computers, wind turbines and electric vehicles.
Det'on Cho Nahanni Construction, partially owned by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, signed the agreement early last year.
Source - Strategic Research Institute
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