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Heavy rare earth metals: rights and interests acquired in Japan for the first time.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has announced on March 7 that Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security (JOGMEC), an independent administrative institution controlled by the Ministry, and Sojitz Corporation, through Japan Australia Rare Earths Limited, which was jointly established in 2011, have signed an agreement to invest a total of AUD 200 million (approximately JPY 18 billion) in the production of heavy rare earths by the major Australian rare earth producer Lynas and supply them to Japan. According to METI, this is the first acquisition of rights and interests in heavy rare earths for Japan.

 

 

With this investment, Lynas will expand its production of light rare earths, which it has been involved in, and start producing dysprosium and terbium, a type of heavy rare earth. JOGMEC and Sojitz will supply up to 65% of this heavy rare earth to Japan, which Lynas will mine at its Mount Weld mine in the country. This is equivalent to about 30% of domestic demand.

 

Lynas currently supplies light rare earths to Japan, where they are used as the main raw material for motor magnets. This time, in addition, the company will start producing and supplying dysprosium and terbium, heavy rare earths that give magnets their heat resistance. Japan relies on Chinese production for most of its heavy rare earths, and the aim is to secure a new supply chain.   

 

 

Japanese site is here

 

(IRuniverse G・Mochizuki, translated by MK)

 

 

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