The United States (U.S.) is showcasing its support for South Africa’s Phalaborwa Rare Earths Project – poised to become the largest, low-cost producer of rare earths oxides globally – with Mining company, Rainbow Rare Earths, hosting a U.S. Congressional staff delegation for a site visit at the project this week.
The visit follows a $50 million investment in the project by the U.S. government’s International Development Finance Corporation.
The investment – which was announced on 3 December 2023 during the COP28 Summit in Dubai – will be made to private company, TechMet Ltd., for direct investment into the Phalaborwa project.
“Phalaborwa is rightly gaining traction as an important and strategic source of all four of the critical rare earths required for the green energy transition, as well as other next-generation technologies, including those essential to defense and national security,” stated Rainbow Rare Earths CEO, George Bennett.
The Phalaborwa project will target two above-ground piles of phosphogypsum, which features a significant concentration of neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, and terbium – strategic rare earths that are designated as critical minerals due to their high-tech and renewable energy applications.
The project, which is due to start production in 2026 and serves as a strategic source of critical rare earths, underscores the global push to produce critical minerals vital for clean energy technologies.
The relatively low production costs for the above-ground project is poised to give Rainbow Rare Earths a competitive advantage over competitors in China and in the West.