Germany needs to look to Russia for rare earths – minister

13 April 2012 15:23  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Germany aims to increasingly look to Russia to cover its demand for rare earths, a minister said on Friday.

Cornelia Pieper, state minister in Germany’s foreign ministry, said the government would support the country's industrial producers in forming partnerships with Russian firms to procure rare earths.

Pieper, who was addressing a Germany-Russia raw materials conference in Nuremberg, said the cooperation on rare earths would build on the two countries’ strategic cooperation in the field of oil and gas.

She did not disclose specific details of steps the government may take to help companies with respect to rare earths.

Martin Faulstich, professor for raw materials and energy technologies at the University of Munich, said the cooperation needed to focus not just on mining and supplying rare earths, but also on recycling raw earths.

Over the long run, global demand for rare earths will not be met without recycling programmes, Faulstich said.

Currently, Germany’s industry sources much of its rare earths requirements from China.

However, the EU, the US and Japan have complained that China is restricting its exports of rare earths, which are critical to the refining, petrochemicals and other industries.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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