LONDON (Reuters) – Canada’s Mkango Resources (MKA.V: Quote) MKA.L, one of a handful of rare earth miners outside China, aims to start production in Malawi in 2020 to catch an expected leap in demand for the metals that are used in electric vehicles and other new technologies.
Demand for rare earths, which range from neodymium used in electric motors to lanthanum used to make batteries, is increasing with the emergence of new, greener technology.
While production of coal, iron ore and other bulk commodities is dominated by major mining firms such as BHP (BHP.AX: Quote) (BLT.L: Quote) and Rio Tinto (RIO.L: Quote) (RIO.AX: Quote), rare earths are mostly produced by China and small mining firms such as Mkango.
“We think we will be in production in three years’ time, just at the right time,” William Dawes, the chief executive of Mkango, which is listed in Toronto and London, told Reuters.
By 2021, he said Mkango would reach full output of about 3,000 tonnes per year of rare earths from the southern African nation. That would include 1,000 tonnes of praesodymium, neodymium, dysprosium and terbium, used in new electric motors.
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