The Asian country wants to develop significantly larger quantities of the raw material group.
To increase the production of rare earth metals to 2.02 million tons per year by 2030 – that is what Vietnam is planning, according to Reuters. This increase would be enormous for the country. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Vietnam’s rare earth mine production was 400 tons in 2021 and 4,300 tons in 2022. Compared to 2022, production would increase 470-fold by 2030, putting the country nearly on par with the United States. An increase to 2.11 million tons of rare earths is planned by 2050, Reuters adds. The goal of the project is to develop one of the world’s largest quantities of these metals. The state’s reserves amount to 22 million tons, according to the USGS. Only China has larger reserves, with 44 million tons.
For the massive expansion of production, three to four new mines will be built by 2030, in addition to the existing nine mines, according to a government agreement. The government also envisions further processing and export of the metals, according to the document obtained by Reuters. For example, the country plans to produce 20,000 to 60,000 metric tons of rare earth oxides annually at refining plants by 2030 and increase production to 40,000 to 80,000 metric tons per year by 2050.
Increasing Competition With China?
Vietnam could become a competitor to industry leader China in the rare earths sector. Due to crises and the politically tense situation, Vietnam has long been in the sights of foreign investors and could gradually become a counterweight to China. Germany and South Korea, for example, have had the country on their radar for some time to diversify their supply chains and reduce their dependence on China. It should not be forgotten, however, that the Middle Kingdom also has influence in Vietnam: For example, the domestic mining company Vietnam Rare Earth Company is 90 percent owned by Shenghe Resources, a company supported by the Chinese state.
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