One of the world's few rare earths processors outside China has bought exploration rights to mine in Greenland, opening an avenue for diversifying supplies of the minerals critical for advanced and green technologies.
Rare earths are a group of minerals used in the manufacture of electric vehicles, wind turbines, electronics, robots and other machinery. China currently dominates global production, processing about 85% of the world's rare earths, but skyrocketing demand is pushing companies to look for other sources.
Toronto-based Neo Performance Materials, the rare earths processor, said Monday it plans to develop the Sarfartoq deposit in southwest Greenland and will send the ore to its facility in Estonia in Eastern Europe. It's one of only two plants outside China that processes rare earths to a high degree.
Neo aims to have the mine running in two to three years. It will be the company's first major mining project. CEO Constantine Karayannopoulos said that by opening the mine, he hopes to shield the company from volatile rare earth prices, which have shot up in recent years due to supply disruptions and strong demand.
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