Vietnam will restart its largest rare earth mine next year according to a recent report by United Daily News (UDN), one of the primary Taiwanese news groups. Two companies participating in the bid told Reuters that this Western-backed mining project will be the largest rare earth mine in the world. According to estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey, Vietnam ranks second in the world in rare earth reserves. A large part of these reserves remain untapped.
U.S. President Biden recently visited Hanoi with the aim of deepening relations between the United States and Vietnam. He signed an agreement enhancing Vietnam’s ability to attract U.S. investors for the purpose of developing rare earth mines.
Analysts and foreign officials say the purpose of the U.S. investing in Vietnam’s rare earth mines is to lighten dependence on China and reduce supply chain risks. Given China’s near-monopoly position as the world’s biggest rare earth metal producer, China has been able to set low prices so as to discourage other countries’ willingness to invest in their own rare earth mining operations. Refining rare earths metals is a very complex process, and China has mastered many related processing technologies.
Source: UDN, September 25, 2023