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September 4, 2009

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Home » Business » Energy

Aussies delay Lynas decision

AUSTRALIA has again delayed a ruling on a proposed Chinese investment in rare earths miner Lynas Corp.
The delay also came on the heels of Lynas building one of the world's largest rare earth mines.
Rare earth minerals are used in a wide range of products from hybrid car batteries, LCD screens to music players and superconductors.
Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board, the body responsible for scrutinizing sovereign foreign investments, has not yet made a decision concerning the equity investment by China Nonferrous Metal Mining (Group) Co, Lynas said on late Wednesday. The earliest a decision could be made is early next month, the Australian miner said.
The proposed deal, first announced on May 1, would involve CNMC paying A$252 million (US$210.2 million) in cash to Lynas and arranging cheap loans to develop the company's projects, in exchange for a 51.6 percent stake in the miner.
The FIRB had already asked CNMC in July to resubmit an application for approval.
The Beijing-based company couldn't be reached for comment.
Industry watchers said the FIRB's decision-making process has possibly been influenced by a recent media report of a draft industry policy under which China is to limit exports of rare earths, which has sparked concerns in the industry abroad.
Wang Caifeng, deputy director-general of the raw materials department at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said yesterday that exports will continue but must be limited to protect the environment.
China will encourage sales of finished rare earths products but will limit exports of semi-finished goods, the Associated Press quoted her as saying.
A deputy chief of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which has China's largest rare earths deposit, has said the region aims for a reserve mechanism to stabilize prices.


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