Vietnam is set to revive its largest rare-earths
mine, the Dong Pao mine, in a bid to reduce China's stronghold in the
rare-earth sector, which is vital for advanced technologies. This move aligns
with Vietnam's goal of establishing a rare-earth supply chain, including the
capacity to refine ores for use in electric vehicle magnets, smartphones, and
As per sources, Blackstone Minerals Ltd. of
Australia is planning to submit a concessions bid. Blackstone is expected to
invest roughly $100 million in the project.
Dong Pao has been untapped for years, but if it were to be used, Vietnam would become a major participant in the rare-earth sector. Starting in the latter half of 2024, the country plans to produce around 10,000 metric tonnes of rare-earth oxide (REO) equivalent yearly. If this mine was operating at full capacity, it would produce as much as the massive Mountain Pass mine in California.
Vietnam's ambitious goal is to produce up to 60,000 tons of REO equivalent per year by 2030, reducing reliance on China, which controls a significant portion of the global rare-earth market. This endeavor is seen as a crucial step in diversifying the rare-earth supply chain and decreasing vulnerabilities to supply disruptions.
The U.S. has expressed support for Vietnam's
rare-earth ambitions, aiming to help the country attract quality investment and
reduce reliance on China. However, specific plans involving U.S. investors have
yet to be confirmed.
While challenges lie ahead, including improving
environmental practices, Vietnam's efforts could establish it as a viable
alternative to China in the rare-earth sector.
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