Australia's Northern Minerals raises $21 mln for rare earths expansion
MELBOURNE, July 22 (Reuters) - Australian rare earths
developer Northern Minerals said on Monday it has
raised A$30 million ($21 million) from shareholders to fund
expansion at its Browns Range project after trade tensions
refocused interest in the industry.
The developer has received commitments from Australian and
overseas investors for the rights issue to fund further
exploration, an ore sorting machine, and an examination of
whether it can move more production onshore, it said in a filing
to the Australian Securities Exchange.
Northern Minerals is among Australia's most advanced
development projects for rare earths, a group of 17 minerals
critical to high tech industries and defence.
The industry had been suffering from a lack of investment
until trade tensions this year stoked demand for supply from
outside of top producer China after China's state media implied
it could curb exports to the United States.
"The programme expansion and acceleration is a result of
significantly increased levels of interest in the company and
the Browns Range Project from a number of parties, including
potential customers, investors and government bodies in
Australia and the U.S.," the company said.
The price of dysprosium, used in industrial magnets, had
rise by about 55% in 2019, it added.
Although China contains only a third of the world's rare
earth reserves, it accounts for 80% of U.S. imports of the
($1 = 1.4198 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; editing by Richard Pullin)
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