Vietnam has the second-largest rare earth deposits behind China.
South Korea and Vietnam want to cooperate more closely in critical raw materials. The South Korean news agency Yonhap News reports that the two countries will jointly develop the relevant technologies and set up a research center to strengthen supply chains. South Korea’s Industry Minister Bang Moon-kyu and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Hong Dien signed a memorandum of understanding at a meeting in Seoul. This is intended to speed up the implementation of an agreement on critical minerals between the countries last December (we reported). The two ministers also announced their intention to increase bilateral trade from 87.7 billion US dollars in 2022 to 150 billion US dollars by 2030.
Vietnam has the world’s second-largest estimated rare earth deposits behind China (PDF) and the third-largest tungsten reserves (PDF). The Asian country wants to increase its currently low production of rare earths 470-fold by 2030 and become an important supplier of raw materials. According to its Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, South Korea has advanced technologies for mining and refining these minerals, according to Yonhap. The state has few natural resources and wants to reduce its dependence on imports from China. To this end, a strategy has been developed that includes more recycling and new partnerships with countries rich in raw materials. However, South Korea is also strengthening its cooperation with China (we reported).