The Straits Times
Published on Nov 17, 2012

Japan, India to cooperate on rare earth production


TOKYO (AFP) - Japan has signed a memorandum of understanding with India to promote joint production of rare earth minerals, a move that will help reduce its reliance on China, which controls most of the world's supply.

Under the memorandum signed on Friday, the Japanese and Indian governments will support a joint project between Japanese trading house Toyota Tsusho and an Indian state-run company, Tokyo's energy agency said.

From next spring, Japan is expected to begin annual imports of 4,100 tonnes of rare earths from India, which will be more than 10 per cent of demand in Asia's second-largest economy, according to the Jiji Press news agency.

Rare earths are used to make a wide range of high-tech products, including powerful magnets, batteries, LED lights, electric cars, iPods, lasers, wind turbines and missiles.