Home Business Inside Vietnam’s plans to dent China’s rare earths dominance

Inside Vietnam’s plans to dent China’s rare earths dominance

by Mark Mendoza

Vietnam is planning to restart its largest rare earths mine, Dong Pao, next year in a move aimed at challenging China’s dominance in the sector and building up its own rare earths supply chain. The Vietnamese government intends to launch tenders for multiple blocks of the mine before the end of this year, with the aim to restart production in 2023. Australia’s Blackstone Minerals and Vietnam Rare Earth JSC (VTRE) are planning to bid for concessions at the mine and have unveiled plans to build a factory for refining ores into metals used in key technologies like electric vehicles and smartphones. Blackstone’s investment in the project is expected to be worth around $100 million. Vietnam currently has the second-largest rare earths deposits in the world, but they have remained largely untapped due to low prices set by China’s near-monopoly on the global market. The move to restart the Dong Pao mine is part of Vietnam’s broader aim to reduce reliance on China and establish itself as a significant player in the rare earths industry. The country aims to produce up to 60,000 tons of rare-earth oxide a year by 2030, which would account for 5-15% of China’s projected output. The U.S. government has also pledged to help Vietnam map its rare-earth resources and attract quality investment to further support its efforts.

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