Chinese rare earth company Shenghe Resources is set to acquire a 9.9% interest in rare earths exploration company Vital Metals in a first phase investment.
Vital Metals owns two exploration projects, Wigu Hill in Tanzania and the Canadian Nechalacho deposit. The Nechalacho deposit was operational on a small scale between June 2021 and June 2022 to kick-start the company’s rare earth mixed compound ambitions at a refining project in Saskatchewan. However, recently the mixed rare earth project in Saskatchewan was suspended, and the company has again opened up its concentrate projects as a third-party feedstock option.
Shenghe Resources is a well-known Chinese entity in the international rare earth space with investments in MP Materials in the USA, Peak Rare Earths in Tanzania, and several other rare earth processing and mining projects globally. Through its investment in MP Materials, Shenghe has access to the Mountain Pass mine, the largest rare earth mine by production volume outside of China, with concentrates both exported to China for further refining and more recently refined domestically in the USA.
While the USA looks to build out an independent mine-to-market supply chain for rare earths, the dominating Chinese rare earth industry continues to showcase interests outside its borders as the major contender for up-and-coming rare earth projects. Advanced rare earth projects will be tempted to realise gains from the only existing significant demand market (China), while weighing up hopes of premium prices from a Western market, which still has some way to go.
Source: Project Blue