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Vietnam Will Host Korean And Chinese REE Magnet Firms, New Projects Ahead
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Vietnam Will Host Korean And Chinese REE Magnet Firms, New Projects Ahead

Korean and Chinese magnet firms, including an Apple supplier, are set to open factories in Viet Nam, told Reuters in its article released on August 22. The article noted that Viet Nam has untapped rare earth deposits second only to China's, as well as a fledgling processing industry, giving the country the potential to be a much bigger competitor.

South Korea's Star Group Industrial (SGI)'s Viet Nam project, for instance, targets 2025 output of 5,000 tons of high-end neodymium (NdFeB) magnets per year, enough for 2 million electric vehicles (EVs).

Moreover, U.S. officials have signaled growing interest in Viet Nam's rare earths potential, and South Korea signed a deal with Viet Nam in June to boost its supply chain of critical minerals.

Magnet makers are also drawn to Viet Nam by low labor costs and market access afforded by multiple free-trade deals. They also want to move closer to Viet Nam-based clients, such as automakers and electronics firms, industry insiders said.

Viet Nam is the only country beyond China with all stages of the magnet supply chain, from mining rare earths to downstream production, according to Reuters.

SGI, which supplies magnets to Vietnamese EV maker VinFast and Korea's Hyundai Motor, told Reuters it is investing US$80 million in its new Viet Nam factory with production starting in 2024.

The plant would nearly double the company's current output of 3,000 tons a year from factories in South Korea and China.

The Southeast Asian country has the world's second-largest reserves of rare earths-an estimated 22 million tons-second only to China, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Its rare earths production jumped to 4,300 tons last year from 400 tons in 2021, the USGS said.

Viet Nam will develop three to four new mines after 2030, aiming to raise its raw rare earths output to 2.11 million tons by 2050, the document showed.

Rare earths are a group of elements that have applications in electronics manufacturing and batteries, making them important for the global transition towards cleaner sources of energy and in defense.

Apart from mining, the country said it will also seek to invest in rare earth refining facilities, with a target of annually producing 20,000-60,000 tons of rare-earth oxides (REO) by 2030.

The plan aims to raise the annual REO output to 40,000-80,000 tons by 2050.

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