Indian Rare Earths Ltd (IREL) is to
construct a 5,000tpa rare earth oxide (REO) plant which could
supply about 5% of the global demand for the critical
Japans Toyotsu Rare Earths
India Pvt. Ltd. (TREI) will sign a contract to buy between
2,000-2,300 tpa, meeting approximately 15% of Japanese domestic
demand, which varies between 20,000 and 30,000 tpa.
About 2,000 tpa could be exported
via TREI to Japan as soon as February 2015.
The plant, to be built in the
east-coast Indian state of Odisha, will produce REOs by
processing monazite from beach sands.
IREL is a subdivision of the Indian
Department of Energy. The head of the rare earths division of
IREL, S Surya Kumar, said that up to half of the output of the
factory would be the REO forms of lanthanum and cerium.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
and Japanese leader Shinzo Abe met in Tokyo to sign further
agreements with Toyota Tsusho to produce REOs. India and Japan
signed a memorandum in 2012 to co-operate in the REO
Discussions are on between
Japan and India for an alliance in the area of rare earth
chemicals, RN Patra, managing director of IREL, said.
As part of the plans, IREL a
state owned company will supply raw materials to a greenfield
Japanese rare earth production unit in Vizag.
The talks are being held
under the memorandum that the two countries have in this field.
However, these plans are subject to approval by the
government, he added.
Japanese rare earth supply
Given the importance of REO supply
to Japanese industry, the countrys government and private
businesses have pledged to invest billions of dollars to reduce
the supply risks associated with Chinese REO imports.
Japan is the second largest
consumer of REOs in the world. The country produces a large
proportion of the worlds high technology products that
require rare earth elements.
The strong supply position of
China, which produces 90% of the worlds REO export, and
the weak position of Japan as a dependent buyer is intensified
by historically poor Sino-Japanese foreign relations, meaning
that supply risks are a genuine concern for the Japanese
Until the middle of the 20th
century, a significant proportion of world REO production came
from the East Indian coast. IREL shut down operations on its
Kerala mine in southwest India in 2004 following Chinese market
Since the Kerala mine closure in
2004, however, the Indian supply has increased, with
IRELs Keralan Chavara mine, in particular, resulting in
Indian exports in REO being only second to China, while still
very small in comparison.
*Conversions made September 2014
Rare Earths News
China Minmetals takes stake in HREE
China Minmetals Rare Earth Group
Co. has signed an equity transfer agreement with Guangzhou
Jianfeng Minmetals Rare Earth Co. to buy equities in the
Guangzhou-based heavy rare earths (HREE) producer.
Following the transaction at a
value of Chinese renminbi (Rmb) 38.6bn ($6.2bn*), China
Minmetals will become the largest shareholder in Guangzhou
Jianfeng, with a 75% equity share, with the remaining 25% held
by Guangzhou Jianfengs director, Zhang Wenhai.
China Minmetals is planning to
integrate of Guangzhou Jianfengs HREE business, in line
with the consolidation policies pursued by major producers in
Guangzhou Jianfeng operates a
processing facility near the town of Conghua, with a capacity
of 3,000 tpa HREE.
China rare earths exports
Chinese companies exported about 2,400 tonnes rare earths in
August, up nearly 31% compared with July exports, according to
Chinas General Administration of Customs (GAC).
Exports fell to 1,556 tonnes in
June, the lowest level in 2014. However, exports rose 35%
year-on-year (y-o-y) in the first eight months of this year,
amounting to 18,200 tonnes.
This represents almost 60% of the
full-year quota of 30,600 tonnes, which was announced by
Beijing in July.
In 2013, China exported almost
22,500 tonnes rare earths, up 38.3% y-o-y, but well below the
export quota of 31,000 tonnes. In 2012 exports accounted for
just over the half of the full-year quota.
Following the World Trade
Organizations (WTO) final verdict against China exports
quota released in August, the Chinese government is considering
other policies to tackle illegal mining and oversupply in the
domestic industry and to preserve natural resources.
According to IM
sources, Beijing is planning to cancel both export quotas and
tariffs in 2015.
Lynas halts financing
Australian rare earth producer Lynas Corp. has ceased
negotiations with Japanese financial firm Nomura about an
amendment of its senior debt facility.
The company has been negotiating
with Nomura to refinance a repayment of $35m for its senior
debt with Sojitz and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp.
Lynas proposed to replace its
existing semi-annual repayments with one full repayment in June
2016 and hoped to reach an agreement before the end of
The rare earths producer said it is
now engaging with other potential financiers and investors to
restructure its present debt, raise potential additional
facilities and seek other investment opportunities.
The company has a total debt of
$225m for the Sojitz/Jogmec facility following the agreement
entered with the two Japanese companies in March 2012 to
develop its Mount Weld rare earths project in Western Australia
and build its Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP) in
In the last six months of 2013 the company posted a net loss
of Australian dollar (A$) 59.3m ($53.2m) to the negative impact
of low rare earth prices on revenues, despite a ramping up rare
earths production at the LAMP.