The raw materials produced in Australia are to be used in offshore wind turbines.
Australian mining company Arafura Resources plans to supply neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) to U.S. conglomerate General Electric (GE), Reuters news agency reports. The raw materials will be processed at Arafura’s planned Nolan rare earths mining and processing plant in the Northern Territory, the construction of which is being promoted by the Australian government. The material will then be used to manufacture offshore wind turbines in France, where GE’s turbine manufacturing division is based.
The agreement shows Australia’s potential for strong commercial partnerships in critical minerals with its major trading partners, said Australian Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell. It is also a sign of the government’s commitment to developing this sector of the economy, he said. Australia has large deposits of many critical commodities and has now become the largest rare earth producer behind world leader China. Australian mining companies such as Lynas are therefore sought-after partners for countries and companies looking to diversify their supply chains. As we reported, Arafura is also expected to supply rare earths to South Korean automaker Hyundai.
The agreement (PDF) between Arafura and GE was announced at the Energy Forum in Sydney. There, Australia also announced today that it has joined the Mineral Security Partnership, launched in mid-June. Its goal is to secure global supply chains for critical minerals such as NdPr, which are vital to the energy and transportation transition. NdPr is largely processed into strong permanent magnets used in wind turbines and electric motors, among other applications. Due to global climate protection efforts, demand for the raw material has risen sharply in recent years, which at times has been reflected in record prices.