Japan’s JOGMEC and Sojitz Invest $9 Million in Miner Lynas

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TOKYO: State-owned Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) and Japanese trading house Sojitz Corp have invested $9 million to buy an additional stake in Lynas Rare Earths to aid the Australian miner’s expansion project, they said Tuesday.

Lynas, the world’s largest producer of rare earths outside of China, unveiled plans in August to invest A$500 million ($335.35 million) to expand the capacity of its Western Australia-based Mt Weld mine to meet the market demand for rare earth metals.

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The Mt Weld mine has deposits of rare earth elements neodymium (Nd) and praseodymium (Pr), which are in high demand to make magnets used in electric vehicles (EVs) and wind power, amid a global urge for decarbonization.

Lynas’ longtime Japanese backers are happy to support the expansion project, as it could help ensure stable supplies of rare earths to Japan, JOGMEC and Sojitz said in a statement.

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“The long-term stable supply of rare earths is extremely important for Japanese manufacturers, given the increasing demand for rare earths as an important material for magnets indispensable for environmentally friendly products such as motors for EVs and wind power generators.” according to the Japanese companies.

In 2011, JOGMEC and Sojitz provided a total of $250 million in loans and stock to Lynas. In return, Sojitz became the exclusive distributor of Lynas products in the Japanese market.

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In 2019, Lynas signed a 10-year loan extension with the Japanese lenders, increasing its commitment to supply rare earth metals to Japanese customers.

As part of a March agreement between Lynas and the Japanese lenders, the Japanese side deferred the payment of $11.5 million in interest on that loan until October 31, with no penalty and no additional interest.

($1 = 1.4910 Australian dollars)

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