American Miner Moving into Competition with China on Rare Earth Mineral Production in California

The owner of the only US rare earths mine is hiring, as it looks to significantly boost production, part of a strategy to build out American refining capability after China raised tariffs on the minerals during this escalating trade dispute.

By next year, MP Materials will be the 1st company to refine rare earths since Y 2015.

The mine has relied on China for rare earth processing, triggering national security concerns. China is the world’s largest processor and producer of the 17 specialized minerals used to build weapons, consumer electronics and a range of other goods. There are no known substitutes, and China accounts for around 80% of US rare earths supply.

In June, China more than 2X’d tariffs on US rare earths imports for refining to 25%. Friday, Beijing said it would add an additional 10% on Top of that tariff rate starting next month, the latest exchange in a protracted dispute between the world’s Top 2 economies.

The Trump Administration labeled rare earths Key for national defense and ordered the Pentagon to support domestic production.

MP Materials is majority controlled by Chicago hedge fund JHL Capital Group and New York’s QVT Financial LP, with China’s Shenghe Resources Holding Co (600392.SS) holding a 9.9% stake, despite the Shenghe stake, China has no control over Mountain Pass or where its products are sold to.

America First!

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