〇Hey you One of the few rare earth processors in the world outside of China has purchased exploration rights to mine in Greenland. This paved the way for diversifying the supply of minerals essential for advanced environmental technologies.
Rare earths are a group of minerals used in the manufacture of electric vehicles, wind turbines, electronics, robots and other machinery. China currently processes about 85% of the world’s rare earths and dominates global production, but soaring demand has led companies to look to other sources.
Toronto-based rare-earth processor Neo Performance Materials said yesterday [Macau time] It plans to develop the Sarfartoq deposit in southwestern Greenland and will send the ore to its facility in Estonia, Eastern Europe. This is his one of two factories outside of China that highly process rare earths.
Neo aims to have the mine operational in two to three years. This will be the company’s first major mining project. CEO Konstantin Karajanopoulos hopes opening the mine will protect the company from volatile rare earth prices that have surged in recent years due to supply disruptions and strong demand.
“We are at the mercy of the market,” he said.
Karayannopoulos called it “business, not geopolitics”. In recent years, however, rare earths have attracted the attention of policymakers in Washington, Beijing, and other capitals because of their importance to the world’s high-tech supply chains. The United States, Europe and Japan have called China’s reliance on rare earths a “national security risk” and have sought to diversify their supplies.
But such efforts have struggled as mines in other countries have run into opposition or failed to get off the ground after price volatility terrified investors.
Meanwhile, rare earth supplies are dwindling, raising ethical and environmental concerns at some mines. Rare earth mining is a cheap and dirty business, and China, the world’s largest mining nation, has closed many mines in recent years to curb environmental damage.
Some of that mining has been outsourced to Myanmar, where a lack of oversight hides a dirty secret.A study this month by the Associated Press found that Myanmar’s mining has been linked to environmental destruction, theft of land from villagers, and more. The AP traced the rare earths from Myanmar to supply chains of 78 companies, including major automakers and electronics giants.
In a statement, the U.S. State Department said it was “deeply concerned” about illegal mining in Myanmar and warned other countries that economic activity with Myanmar “enables or exacerbates regime violence against its own people.” I asked him to confirm that he would not.
Karayannopoulos said the company will drill and break rocks in Greenland and do basic processing without harmful chemicals. The ore is then shipped to Estonia where it is further processed into shapes that can be used to make magnets.
Plans for another rare earth mine in Greenland fell through after voters brought to power a leftist government that blocked development. There were concerns about how they would be disposed of. DAKE KANG, Beijing, MDT/AP