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Western Firms Discuss Premium Pricing For Key Metals

Some companies from Australia, Canada, and Germany are seeking premium pricing for their critical metals as they plan to help reduce the West’s dependence on China in the key minerals market critical to advancing the energy transition, company officials have told Reuters.

Aclara Resources, listed in Canada and developing a rare earth mineral project in Chile, is in discussions with manufacturers for premium pricing as part of a long-term deal.

“The controls on strategic minerals (by China) continues to escalate, it comes as no surprise if rare earths are next,” Aclara Resources chief executive officer Ramon Barua told Reuters.

Ionic Rare Earths of Australia, Vacuumschmelze of Germany, and Canadian miner Neo Performance Materials are also discussing similar plans to seek premium pricing for their products, sources with knowledge of the matter have told Reuters.

The Western governments are desperate to reduce their heavy dependence on China for key minerals. Europe and the U.S. are encouraging supply of locally-sourced materials or such from friendly nations.

China, for its part, has an outsized role in the global supply chain of clean energy technology, which brings another set of energy security concerns due to the highly geographically concentrated supply chains for both technology and critical minerals, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says.

Further trade restrictions from China and escalating China-West frictions could slow down the energy transition due to the Chinese dominance in several key minerals and technology supply chains. This will raise the already very high bill for industries and governments to ensure the supply of key components to advance the transition away from fossil fuels. 

Analysts also see the Nordic countries, particularly Greenland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, as a crucial source of supply for the Western nations.

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Last month, Finnish Minerals Group said that two rare earth minerals had been found in Finland for the first time in what could be a boost to Europe’s supply of critical minerals necessary for the energy transition.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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