Mining Magnate Invests in Rare Earths

by | 17. Apr 2024 - 10:22 | Economy

New impetus for speculation about a merger between MP Materials and Lynas.

Australian mining billionaire Gina Rinehart is pushing ahead with the diversification of her company, Hancock Prospecting. The group, which originates in the mining of iron ore, increased its stake in rare earth specialist Lynas to just under six percent this week, as detailed in a press release (PDF). A few days ago, Rinehart had already invested in the most important US company in the industry and acquired a stake of more than five percent in MP Materials.

In February, rumors were circulating about a possible merger between MP Materials and Lynas, a move that could create a counterweight to China’s market power in the rare earths sector. According to Lynas, there have indeed been talks about this, but they are currently on hold (we reported). However, Rinehart’s investment in both companies has now given new impetus to speculation about a connection, as Bloomberg, among others, writes (paywall).

Hancock Prospecting also holds shares in the Australian company Arafura Rare Earths, which is planning to build the first combined mine and processing plant for rare earths in Australia. There are also investments in projects for the extraction of these critical raw materials in Brazil. In addition, Rinehart is increasingly investing in companies that specialize in the mining of lithium, such as Vulcan Energy Resources. The company is planning to extract the battery metal from the deep saline waters of the Upper Rhine Graben.

Photo: iStock/SeventyFour

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