March 21, 2011 / 8:05 PM / 7 years ago

Molycorp says rare-earth prices up in Q1

<p>Molycrop President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Smith poses for a picture during the Reuters Mining Summit in Toronto, March 21, 2011. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>

TORONTO (Reuters) - Molycorp Inc MCP.N, the largest U.S. producer of rare earths, is on track to hit its first-quarter sales targets, helped by higher prices, Chief Executive Mark Smith said.

“The good news from the Molycorp standpoint is that first-quarter sales are right on plan and the average prices for these rare earths are significantly higher than we anticipated,” Smith told the Reuters Global Mining and Steel Summit in Toronto.

Prices of rare earths, used in high-tech products ranging from handheld electronics to wind turbines, have soared over the past year after China sharply cut back its exports for those materials.

Reporting by Julie Gordon, writing by Scott Malone; editing by Rob Wilson

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