* Australian rare earths firm pushes ahead with new mine
* New rare-earths mines in focus as China curbs exports
* Rare earths used in TVs, mobile phones and computers (Adds tensions over Chinese control of rare-earths trade)
SYDNEY, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Australian rare-earths miner Arafura Resources (ARU.AX) signalled plans on Tuesday to raise money, seizing on heightened investor interest in the sector as China restricts exports of the strategic resource.
China, which supplies about 95 percent of the world’s rare earths, has curbed exports, causing offshore consumers to consider other supply sources for the minerals used in everything from TV screens and computers to mobile phones and toys.
Arafura is one of several independent firms looking to develop offshore resources and weaken China’s grip on the rare-earths trade.
It is developing its Nolans deposit in west Australia, with production tentatively scheduled to start in 2014. The mine will potentially have an annual capacity of 20,000 tonnes.
<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ For a graph on rare earth metals, detailing use, main producers and markets: link.reuters.com/bam39p Q+A on China's rare-earths exports [ID:nTOE69N010]
FACTBOX on rare-earths winners & losers [ID:nSGE69J0AP]
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> Arafura, with a market value of about $400 million, has yet to announce the size of its capital-raising. It called a halt to trading in its shares on Tuesday, pending a full announcement.
China has restricted rare-earth exports, especially to neighbouring Japan which now faces shortage of a key rare-earths element, a metal called cerium. [ID:nSGE69J0BC] (Reporting by Mark Bendeich; Editing by James Regan) ($1=1.010 Australian Dollar)