Brazil joins race to loosen China’s grip on rare earths industry – by Melanie Burton and Fabio Teixeira (Reuters – June 17, 2024)

MELBOURNE/RIO DE JANEIRO, June 17 (Reuters) – Mining giant Brazil has big ambitions to build a rare earths industry as Western economies push to secure the metals needed for magnets used in green energy and defence and break China’s dominance of the supply chain.

Working to its advantage are low labour costs, clean energy, established regulations and proximity to end markets, including Latin America’s first magnet plant which would provide a ready buyer for the metals. But low rare earths prices, technical challenges and nervous lenders pose challenges to the Latin American nation’s hopes to propel itself into the world’s top five rare earths producers.

The pace at which Brazil’s rare earths projects come together will be a test for how successful the West may be at building a new advanced industry almost from scratch to break China’s grip.

Brazil holds the world’s third-largest rare earth reserves. The country’s first rare earths mine, Serre Verde, started commercial production this year.

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