Tanzanian government and Peak Rare Earths sign framework agreement for Ngualla project.
Mining companies such as Lynas and Arafura are generating international interest in Australia because the demand for critical minerals such as rare earths is growing and the resource-rich country can supply. This makes it a possible alternative to the main supplier, China. Just like the industry leader, however, Australian companies are not limiting themselves to mining domestic mineral deposits, but are also seeking mining permits abroad.
This is also the case in the East African country of Tanzania, which on Monday signed contracts worth US$667 million with three Australian groups for the mining of rare earths and graphite. Tanzania is securing a 16 percent stake in each of the jointly formed projects, Reuters news agency reports. While Evolution Energy Minerals and Ecograf Ltd. are committed to mining the battery base material graphite, Peak Rare Earths plans to mine rare earths. The company expects to invest about $320 million to build the necessary infrastructure at the Ngualla project. 75-100 percent of production in the first seven years will go to Peak’s largest shareholder, Shenghe Resources, if the memorandum of understanding (PDF) signed last October comes into effect.
The Chinese group also holds stakes in MP Materials, the operator of the Mountain Pass mine in the U.S., as well as projects in Vietnam, Greenland and Australia. Regions and deposits, in other words, that play a significant role in the strategies for less dependence on the People’s Republic.
Photo: iStock/Andrei Dumitrescu