Neodymium prices surged towards $50 000/t on the Sanghai Metal Market on Friday, as rare earths hit centre stage in China’s trade dispute with the US, ASX-listed Pensana Metals said in a statement on Monday.
The company added that the price surge followed a public visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to one of the Asian country’s leading rare earths magnet makers last week.
Pensana mentioned that he had been accompanied by China’s lead trade negotiator in the dispute with the US.
According to the company, some commentators have interpreted this as a clear warning that China could weaponise its near-dominant position in the rare earth magnet sector – which is crucial to electric vehicles, wind turbines and a range of military, medical and clean energy technology applications.
The last time China curtailed its rare earth exports was in 2010, following a maritime dispute with Japan, which saw neodymium prices increase to $250 000/t.
Pensana is developing the Longonjo neodymium/praseodymium project, in Angola.
Drilling results earlier in May confirmed continuity of a thick blanket of neodymium/praseodymium mineralisation from surface. The company expects to publish an updated mineral resource estimate, in support of a preliminary feasibility study, in September.