Greenfields Research

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The challenge of developing rare earths mines

- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Case Studies, Commodities, Conferences, Mining


I’m currently on holiday in Japan, the world’s largest importer of rare earth metals. Whilst I’m here to support my wife giving her first international conference presentation at a paediatrics conference in Nikko, enjoy the bustle of Tokyo and meditate in the surrounds of Kyoto in autumn, it did seem appropriate to post my most recent presentation on rare earths, from my backlog of ‘things to post to the website’.

In September, I presented at the Metal Pages (now part of Argus Media) Rare Earths Conference in Chengdu, China. The presentation was entitled “The Challenges in Developing New Rare Earth Mine Supply Outside of China”. The presentation was co-authored with my PhD supervisor, Allan Trench of Curtin University (Department of Mineral & Energy Economics) and Joshua Wright from Rowton Ltd. The presentation focused on three long standing rare earths projects in Australia, Lynas Corporation’s Mt Weld (and also LAMP facility in Malaysia), Arafura Resources’ Nolans project and Alkane Resources’ Dubbo project, and the project delays they have faced over the last decade in trying to develop their rare earths projects. Drawing from the experience of these front runners the presentation then hopefully gives some strategic advice for those thinking of entering the rare earths industry. A link to the presentation is available below:

2014-Sykes_et_al-Developing_New_Rare_Earth_Mine_Supply_Outside_China-Metal_Pages_Rare_Earths-FINAL from John Sykes