(Bloomberg) — European automakers are in discussions with Australian rare earths explorer Arafura Resources Ltd. about sourcing elements that help power electric cars from outside China, which dominates global supply.
The miner is developing the A$1 billion ($728 million) Nolans project in Australia’s Northern Territory that will cover as much as 10% of global demand for the type of rare earths used in permanent magnets for electric motors.
Crucially, Arafura plans to process ores close to its site, ensuring direct oversight of the treatment of toxic waste products at the project it bought in 2001.
“We have engagement with European manufacturers to directly supply them with material,” Chief Financial Officer Peter Sherrington said in an interview, adding that he expects to ink deals before the end of the year because talks are advancing to volumes and price. New rules on sustainability and traceability “have opened carmakers’ minds up to the need of this.”
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