Australian rare earths miner signs MoU with Chinese firm

Greenland Minerals and Energy has signed an MoU with China Non-Ferrous Metals Industry’s Foreign Engineering and Construction Co. (NFC) to building an integrated global rare earth supply chain.

According to GME this agreement “sets out a framework for both parties to co-operate in aligning the rare earth concentrates from GMEL’s Kvanefjeld Project, with NFC’s rare earth separation

Under the terms of the MoU both parties will increase the technical co-operation to aid in completing the feasibility studies on the site, and in finalising a mining licence application.

GME says timing is crucial, as the two companies are aiming to align the completion of licences with the construction of NFC’s new separation facility.

NFC added the plant will be “one of the world’s newest, largest-capacity and most technologically advanced rare earth separation facilities”.

This agreement comes close to six months after Greenland opened up wider mining in the country, allowing for both uranium and rare earths mining in the arctic nation.

This announcement was a massive win for GME, as its Kvanefjeld project is being touted as having the potential to be one of the world’s largest rare earth producing mines, and is estimated to contain 619 million tonnes of mineral resources.

Part of the increased interest in mining Greenland has been tied to the country’s significant ice loss.

The move may also heighten concerns over China’s ongoing global rare earths monopoly, with the country already producing more than 90% of global output, and owning a control stake in many of the world’s other rare earths operators, according to the financial times.

Acquisitions of Australian rare earth miners are strongly backed by the Chinese Government, a China-based industrial banker said. Since 2004, or even earlier, the Chinese government has treated rare earth resources as strategic. In order to protect the resources available to China, the government employs a three-pronged strategy; rare earth exports are restricted, imports encouraged, and outbound rare earth acquisitions actively encouraged.

With fellow Australian rare earth miners Lynas Corporation and Arafura Resources already seeing Chinese ownership on their stockholding, GME was the last independent Australian rare earths company not aligned with a Chinese rare earths business.

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