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China, Australia Fast-track Rare Earths Exploration Projects

Updated: 2012-03-06 11:20

Rare earths miners in China and Australia have decided to fast track their respective exploration projects amid earlier reports that the falling prices of rare earths in the global market will trigger anew a massive demand for the precious metals.

Jiangxi Copper Co., China's biggest industrial metal miner, announced expansion plans that included hastening the development of a rare earths project in southwestern Sichuan province, Bloomberg News reported. No other details were provided as to how the strategy will be achieved.

"Output of rare-earth oxide at the Mianning mine will eventually reach 50,000 metric tonnes a year," Li Yihuang, Chairman of Jiangxi Copper Co., said but did not give a timeframe when this will be achieved. "When the project is completed, Jiangxi Copper will be among the country's three largest rare-earth producers."

Australian rare earths junior miner Northern Minerals, meanwhile, announced the completion of a share placement to raise A$10 million funds to finance the exploration and further development of its heavy rare-earth element (HREE) projects in northern Australia, particularly the Browns Range and John Galt projects.

In a statement, the company said the placement comprised of some 22.72-million fully paid ordinary shares at $0.44 per issue price to professional and sophisticated investors.

Rare earths are a group of 17 metals used in weapons, hybrid vehicles and laptop computers. China is currently the world's production hub of the precious metals, with the world's second largest economy controlling more than 95 per cent of the world's market for rare earths.


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