U.S. Offers $850 Million Funding for Australian and Brazilian Rare Earth Projects

by | 21. Mar 2024 - 08:58 | Economy

Loans aim to bolster Western supply chains of critical minerals but are tied to environmental approvals.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States sent a non-binding letter of interest to two Australian companies developing rare earth projects in Australia and Brazil. According to media statements by Australian Strategic Materials (PDF) and Meteoric Resources (PDF), the U.S. offers a total of $850 million for the two ventures: $600 to advance ASM’s Dubbo project in New South Wales and $250 million for Meteoric’s Caldeira Project, located in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.

The funding comes amid a push by Western nations and their allies to diversify supply chains away from industry leader China. The People’s Republic currently accounts for almost 70 percent of the world’s production of rare earth elements, data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows (PDF). These critical minerals are needed for high-power permanent magnets in fields like electric vehicles and clean energy. Despite this overarching goal, the companies added that the final approval for the two loans is subject to environmental approval and due diligence.

Australia recently moved into the center stage of the rare earth sphere. Just last week, Arafura, another major rare earth player from Down Under, received $533 million in government support to develop the country’s first ore-to-oxide mine and processing facility.

Photo: iStock/SeventyFour

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