Lynas Gina Rinehart grabs crown in rare earths Game of Thrones

Hancock’s other public rare earths holdings include a 5.85 per cent stake in Brazilian Rare Earths, an ASX-listed company with a market capitalisation of about $61 million. Rinehart also owns 10 per cent of the Northern Territory’s Arafura Rare Earths, which is capitalised at $432 million.


Rinehart can take a punt on what are commonly referred to as future facing minerals – thanks to the billions of dollars Hancock generates each year from its extensive ownership of the iron ore mines. Those have been crucial to Australia’s historic prosperity and face the challenges of decarbonisation.

Rare earths are not investments for the faint-hearted. Like many critical minerals, including nickel and lithium (which are key to the world’s decarbonisation transition), prices have not been owner-friendly.

Several projects and companies have struggled to survive or find support.

Investors need to have the financial resources to take a punt and remain committed during wild price fluctuations.

But for many critical minerals and rare earths in particular, the future is also tied to geopolitical forces. Countries including Australia and the US want to break the dominance of and reliance on China for supply and processing.

Lynas’ Mount Weld rare earth mine in Western Australia.Credit: Trevor Collens

And Rinehart has sniffed this wind.

Last month, the Albanese government announced moves to supercharge its push to break China’s stranglehold on global critical minerals supply with an $840 million package of loans and grants to help Gina Rinehart-backed Arafura develop its Northern Territory mine and refinery.

The support is Labor’s biggest single financial commitment for the critical minerals sector and effectively expands federal taxpayers’ exposure to rare earths mining and processing by more than 50 per cent to well over $2 billion.

Meanwhile, last month Liontown Resources, whose largest shareholder is also Rinehart, secured a $550 million loan from big Australian commercial banks and taxpayer-funded agencies three months after an Australian banking consortium had withdrawn a $760 million loan aimed at enabling lithium to deliver first production this year.

On Wednesday, the government announced it would inject $585 million of taxpayer funds into projects producing key inputs for batteries, renewables and electric cars.

The Queensland-based Alpha HPA, which specialises in the production of ultra-high purity alumina used in LED lighting, semiconductors and lithium-ion batteries, will receive $400 million in new loans to establish a processing facility in Gladstone.

Spruiking the critical minerals support, Prime minister Anthony Albanese said: “The global race for new jobs and new opportunities is on. Our government wants Australia to be in it to win it.”

So does Gina.

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  • Source of information and images “brisbanetimes”

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