Heavy rare earths producer Northern Minerals has signed an offtake agreement with Thyssenkrupp Materials for 100% offtake from the Browns Range pilot plant project in Western Australia.

The agreement replaces the terminated offtake agreement with Lianyugang Zeyu New Materials Sales.

Under the terms of the agreement, ThyssenKrupp will purchase all heavy rare earth carbonate from the pilot plant project and will serve as the exclusive sales partner of Northern Minerals.

Northern Minerals, which has already commenced heavy rare earth carbonate production at its Browns Range pilot plant, will supply them as separated products going forward.

The two companies will jointly work on the implementation of separating technologies and future expansions of the Browns Range project.

Northern Minerals managing director and CEO George Bauk said: “The continued shift of new car sales to electric vehicles is gaining traction, with all major carmakers introducing EV variants of existing models over the coming years.

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By GlobalData

“With this shift, both car and component makers are accelerating plans to invest further down the production chain in order to secure surety of supply.

“Importantly for Northern Minerals, the new offtake agreement doesn’t include any price caps, giving the company full exposure to increasing Dysprosium and Terbium prices, which are up 60% and 35% respectively over the year to date.”

The agreement will start with immediate effect. All current stockpiled product and future production is part of the agreement.

Thyssenkrupp Materials Trading CEO Wolfgang Schnittker said: “Northern Minerals is one of the few suppliers of rare earths outside China, so we are really looking forward to a successful collaboration between the companies.”

In July last year, Northern Minerals produced the first rare earths carbonate from its Browns Range pilot plant project as part of its efforts to become the first significant dysprosium producer outside of China.

The rare earth carbonate was produced at an on-site laboratory during experimental trials in the commissioning phase.