Users have been drawing down on stockpiles while awaiting clarity over China’s policy on the export of the elements, Amanda Lacaze, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia-based Lynas, said in an interview. Rare earths are used in everything from cruise missiles to iPads.
“In the short term, a lot of what has been damping demand will be released,” Lacaze said today by phone. “Some customers have been living off inventories and they’ll come back and start placing orders.”
Lynas, one of two major producers outside China, rose as much as 30 percent in Sydney after Molycorp Inc., the largest U.S. producer, jumped 9.4 percent Thursday in New York.
China, which produces about 85 percent of global supply, will remove export tariffs on rare earths from May and in January abandoned its 15-year export quotas after the World Trade Organization ruled the policyviolated trade rules.
“If China is committed to eliminating illegal processing and establishing a tax that’s simple to administer then prices will go up, and that will assist companies like Lynas and Molycorp,” said Dudley Kingsnorth, Perth-based executive director at Industrial Minerals Company of Australia Pty. “However, we are not going to see an instant response.”