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Australia can punch above its weight in critical metals — both with mining and processing

The date of: 2021-06-07
viewed: 13

source: small caps

Emerging rare earth players will propel Australia’s ranking

We may have only 4% of the world’s REE resources but, as previously stated, we are already the world’s fourth largest producer thanks to Lynas Rare Earths (ASX: LYC), which has plans to process dysprosium and terbium at a new plant in Texas.

But the rankings are deceptive: Australia is the world’s largest producer independent of China.

This is because number two producer (the US) and number three (Myanmar) send their output to China for processing (and value-adding), which explains why China has 57% of the world’s REE in the ground but is responsible for 85% of the globe’s refining.

And Australia’s share is going to increase, with much of it to be sold to end-users other than China.

Northern Minerals (ASX: NTU) is producing dysprosium and terbium, among other REE, with a pilot plant. The scale-up to full production is now at the definitive feasibility study stage.

Northern Minerals has plans to produce 3,100 tonnes a year rare earths oxide at stage three, with offtake by Germany’s Thyssen-Krupp.

Hastings Technology Metals (ASX: HAS) has its Yangibana project at feasibility stage with two German offtake contracts and further ones planned using European Union funding.

Iluka Resources (ASX: ILU) is planning to produce REE from monazite at its Eneabba heavy minerals project and is also undertaking REE feasibility studies in Victoria’s Wimmera region.

Arafura Resources (ASX: ARU) is at feasibility stage at Nolans in the Northern Territory, planning output of 4,000tpa of neodymium-praseodymium.

And Australian Strategic Materials (ASX: ASM) has already produced metals at laboratory stage in South Korea and is now working on a scoping study for a metals plant and magnet production.

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