Brazil gov't wants more rare earth mining-report

Wed May 11, 2011 1:21pm GMT
 

* Brazil wants more rare earth mining at home

* China dominance in market has alarmed trading partners

SAO PAULO May 11 (Reuters) - Brazil's government wants to boost rare earth mining domestically to wean the country away from dependence on China for the minerals, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Brazilian Science Minister Aloizio Mercadante plans to meet with executives of mining giant Vale (VALE5.SA: Quote) later in the day to talk about the subject, Valor Economico newspaper reported.

"The company that brings together the most resources to work in this area is Vale. My view is that (producing rare earths in Brazil) would bring a lot of value to Vale," the newspaper quoted Mercadante as saying.

Rare earths are used in a variety of clean energy and high-industry technologies.

Vale, the world's largest producer of iron ore, declined to comment. Brazil's ministry of science and technology did not immediately comment.

China, which controls 97 percent of the world's rare earth supplies, has alarmed its trading partners by restricting exports of the minerals.

The prices of the individual rare earth oxides have soared in the past year as China clamped down on exports. (Reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by John Picinich)

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