UPDATE 1-Molycorp names Bedford as CEO
* Karayannopoulos to continue as interim CEO until Dec. 2
* Shares rise 4 percent premarket
Oct 8 (Reuters) - Rare earths company Molycorp Inc said Chief Operating Officer Geoff Bedford would take over as chief executive from Dec. 2, sending its shares up nearly 4 percent before the bell.
Constantine Karayannopoulos will continue as interim CEO until Bedford assumes the role, Molycorp said.
Karayannopoulos, who has held the role since last December, will continue as a director and vice chairman.
Both Karayannopoulos and Bedford previously served at Neo Material Technologies, which Molycorp acquired last June, making it the only major North American player which can both mine and process rare earth metals.
Molycorp has been hit by higher costs and lower rare earth prices in the past couple of years.
Prices of rare earths metals -- mainly produced in China and used in making high-tech items like smartphones, tablets and hybrid vehicles -- skyrocketed through 2010 and early 2011 as China clamped down on exports.
China has since eased export controls sharply, sending down prices of the group of 17 metals and oxides.
Molycorp shares closed at $7.10 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.