Hastings Has Rare Earths Processed in China

by | 16. Feb 2024 - 10:44 | Economy

Despite focusing on European raw material supply chains, the Australian mining group signs a contract with Baotou Sky Rock.

Regarding critical minerals, Western countries are striving for a more independent supply from China – but new cooperation agreements with the raw materials giant are still being entered into.  This is the case with the Australian mining group Hastings Technology Metals, which has signed a binding purchase agreement (PDF) with the Chinese company Baotou Sky Rock. The aim is to have Baotou process rare earth concentrate from Hastings’ Yangibana project in Western Australia over seven years. The private Chinese company specializes in producing rare earth metals and permanent magnets. It is based just 150 kilometers south of the world’s most important mine for this raw material group, Bayan Obo. Hastings and Baotou had already signed a purchase agreement for rare earths in November 2018, which expired after five years.

According to Hastings, the new agreement is intended to improve the profitability of its Yangibana project. The company’s long-term goal is a “mine-to-magnet” strategy focused on Europe, based on the existing agreement with the European rare earth producer Solvay and the investment in the Canadian mining group Neo Performance. The latter operates a rare earth processing plant in Estonia, where a plant for producing rare earth magnets is also under construction. As we reported, Hastings has also signed an off-take agreement with the German plant and raw materials trader Thyssenkrupp Materials Trading.

Read more: Other Western raw materials projects also reflect the continuing close links with China. For example, the Chinese Shenghe Group holds shares in MP Materials, the operator of the only rare earth mine in the USA to date, and in the Vietnam Rare Earth Company, another beacon of hope in the development of alternative raw material supply chains. The sale of all the raw materials from Vital Metals, the ailing operator of the Canadian rare earth mine Nechalacho, to Shenghe also made headlines.

Photo: iStock/drduey

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