December 7, 2010 / 10:11 PM / 9 years ago

Molycorp to ship half its rare earths to Japan in 2010 - Nikkei

Dec 8 (Reuters) - Molycorp Inc MCP.N plans to export half its global shipments of rare-earth metals to Japan this year, chief executive officer Mark Smith told the Nikkei business daily in an interview on Tuesday.

The U.S. firm will supply more than 10 manufacturers in Japan — its most important market — with about 1,500 tons of rare earths with about 750 tons sold via Mitsubishi Corp (8058.T), Smith told the paper.

He added that Molycorp plans to resume output at its Mountain Pass mine in California, with some production beginning as early as this year.

Going forward, Molycorp will supply mainly Japan with magnet-use rare-earth metals, Smith said in the interview.

Molycorp shares, which surged 18 percent to $32.86 on Monday after Nikkei reported Sumitomo Corp (8053.T) was planning to acquire a stake in the company, closed at $32.45 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. [ID:nSGE6B50LO]

The CEO did not divulge specifics but pointed out that the two firms enjoy a strong relationship, with dealings spanning 20 years, the daily added.

Japanese trading houses have been scrambling to secure new sources of rare earths — vital for making auto parts and high-tech products — in recent weeks after shipments from dominant producer China stalled. [ID:nTOE6B605E]

With plans to churn out around 20,000 tons of rare-earth metals in 2012, Molycorp will likely need roughly $530 million, or about 44 billion yen, the paper said.

Smith told the Nikkei he was open to getting capital from other firms. (Reporting by Gowri Jayakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Vinu Pilakkott)

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