Germany scored a rare earth victory as an Australian producer of high-tech metals preferred to trade with a German company rather than its Chinese counterpart. Forbes reported that this made a mark on the dominance by China in the rare earth industry.
Northern Minerals, which works the Browns Range project located in Australia's north end, completed a sales agreement with Thyssenkrupp Materials Trading even as it closed its previous trade deal with China's Lianyugang Zeyu New Materials Sales. The German company has been given 100% rights to buy rare earth materials that are being produced in Northern Minerals' pilot plant.
China has been the go-to-market for these minerals prior to its dispute with the US. European, North American, and Japanese tech manufacturers have made deals with their Chinese counterparts to get rare earth minerals in their processes. China pressed to the wall by the US trade warmongering, has been studying whether to use its dominance of these metals as "collateral" in their tariff dispute.
George Bauk, chief executive for Northern Minerals, said that this new agreement was a great achievement for their company.
The agreement, reported by West Australia, will govern all current stockpiled products within Northern's plants and all future production. These will all fall within Thyssenkrupp's rights as the developer of said material.
The agreement also includes a provision where both companies agree on collaboration in implementing separating technologies at the Browns Range area. There is also a proviso where potential future expansions of the said project will be developed by both companies while working together.
Wolfgang Schnittker, chief executive officer for Thyssenkrupp Materials Trading, said that Northern Minerals has been a focus for them for quite some time now. As it is one of the few suppliers of rare earth materials outside of China, a successful collaboration with the company is of utmost importance right now.
Northern Minerals is still carrying out explorations across the Browns Range which included drilling as well as geophysical surveys. The Dazzler deposit is their current target, which potentially has a mineral resource estimated at 144,000 tons with a 2.23% grading of total rare earth oxide.
This switch by Northern Minerals adds to the growing news of Australian rare earth miners seeking trade and sales deals outside of the Chinese sphere of influence-at least until the trade dispute blows over. It also sheds light towards the growing interest of other countries in Australia's substantial rare earth reserves.