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Australian rare earth miners to access defence funds

The date of: 2019-11-15
viewed: 1

source:Argus Media

Australian rare earth mining projects will become eligible for financial support, including low-interest loans, from the A$4.4bn ($3bn) Defence Export Facility, which was set up last year to support the defence industry. The government will also set up a dedicated office to support Australian companies trying to secure investment for critical mineral projects.

Federal resources minister Matt Canavan will fly to Washington today for a series of meetings with senior US government officials. An escalation of trade tensions between the US and China has focused attention on the lack of a supply chain outside China for rare earths that are critical to defence, automotive, electronics and renewable energy.

Australia is the only large rare earth supplier outside China. Lynas produces around 8-10pc of global supply of light rare earths from its Mount Weld mine in Western Australia, which is processed and separated at its plant in Malaysia. And Northern Minerals has launched pilot production of heavy rare earths at its Browns Range project. But an extended period of low prices has created barriers for other large Australian projects, such as Arafura Resources' Nolans project in the Northern Territory, Alkane Resources' Dubbo in New South Wales and Hastings Technology Metals' Yangibana in Western Australia.

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