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Rare Earth Minerals

Fears China will “turn off the taps” on Britain’s green revolution has forced ministers to enter secret talks with seven commonwealth countries to mine their rare earths. Officials from the Department of International Trade and the Foreign Office have had meetings with representatives from Australia, Canada, Malawi and Tanzania in a bid to persuade them to supply rare earths, as well as critical metals such as lithium to the UK. Rare earths are found in abundance across the world, but are difficult to process and China controls around 90 per cent of the market. The UK has no known deposits of rare earths, unlike other major economies such as the US, Canada and Australia, which are also grappling with the problem. Rare earths are used in a wide variety of technology, from fighter jets, to MRI machines and loudspeakers, but also in the motors of electric vehicles and in wind turbines, and the worldwide transition to green infrastructure is expected to put pressure on global demand.

Telegraph 2nd May 2021 read more »

Cornwall and the Northeast could become hotspots in Britain’s race to secure critical metals to power the green industrial transition. China currently dominates the supply chain for batteries needed for electric vehicles and green energy infrastructure, including critical metals lithium, nickel and cobalt, and the rare earths that power wind turbines. In Cornwall, two companies are at the early stages of exploring for lithium in geothermal waters and repurposed centuries-old china clay mines, in the first step of a possible gold rush for metals in the southwest that could be worth billions. A third company, Northern Lithium, is hoping to extract the minerals from hot saline brines within the Weardale Granite of County Durham. Meanwhile, a site on the Humber has been proposed for the UK’s first rare earths processing plant, which could feed into a new hub of green industry, building batteries and wind turbines.

Telegraph 2nd May 2021 read more »

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