DOD makes rare earth award

By Tony Bertuca / February 1, 2021 at 4:12 PM

The Defense Department has awarded a Defense Production Act Title III technology investment agreement to Lynas Rare Earths, the largest rare earth element mining and processing company outside of China, according to a recent Pentagon announcement.

DOD will contribute $30.4 million to help Lynas establish domestic processing capabilities for light rare earth elements.

"LREEs are critical to numerous defense and commercial applications, including petroleum refining, glass additives, and magnets used in electric vehicle drivetrain motors and precision-guided munitions. Upon completion of this project, if successful, Lynas will produce approximately 25 percent of the worlds' supply of rare earth element oxides," DOD said.

Lynas, through its wholly owned subsidiary Lynas USA, will establish the LREE separation capacity in Hondo, TX.

"The Hondo, Texas facility will complement Lynas' existing Australian and Malaysian operations and is expected to be co-located with the proposed heavy rare earths separation facility," DOD said.

The Pentagon has identified the mining and processing of rare earth elements as a critical area where the U.S. defense industrial base is overly reliant on China.

"The award to Lynas follows three previous DPA Title III awards to rare earth element producers announced in November of 2020," DOD said.