As multinational manufacturers turn to Vietnam as an alternative to increasingly-expensive China, Vietnam also is emerging as a source of valuable raw materials. A Japanese delegation is in Vietnam this week to discuss mining rare earth supplies as an alternative to China, which controls more than 90% of world supply.
Japan may have a shortage of about 10,000 tons of rare earths next year, more than 30% of the country’s annual demand. A Japanese-Vietnamese joint joint venture plans to export rare earths to Japan starting in 2012. The company plans to produce 800 tons of rare-earth metals in Vietnam this year for making neodymium-magnets, the most powerful available, used in machines used by the health care industry and in electricity generators.
The Japanese delegation also is lobbying for companies that want to build a nuclear power station and a bullet- train in Vietnam.
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