Anil Agarwal of Vedanta Highlights the Growing Importance of ‘Green Metals’ Amid Gold Price Surge

Anil Agarwal of Vedanta Highlights the Growing Importance of ‘Green Metals’ Amid Gold Price Surge

Iluka Resources CEO Warns of China’s ‘Weaponization’ of Rare Earths Market

Tom O’Leary, CEO of Iluka Resources, issued a stark warning about China’s strategic manipulation of the rare earths market during the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Perth. O’Leary described China’s control over the industry, particularly heavy rare earths, as nearly absolute, achieved through dominant production and influence on pricing strategies. He criticized Chinese state-owned entities for deliberately driving down prices to discourage competition and maintain market supremacy.

Iluka Resources, which is currently constructing a rare earths refinery in Western Australia, is facing cost overruns pushing the project’s expenses from $1.25 billion to an estimated $1.8 billion. The company is in discussions with the Australian government for additional funding through the Critical Minerals Facility to support the completion of the plant.

O’Leary also highlighted recent moves by China, such as the December ban on exporting knowledge and technology crucial for processing rare earths, as evidence of China’s intent to consolidate its market dominance for both commercial and defense purposes. He stressed the importance of these metals in key sectors like electric vehicle production and national defense.

The Iluka CEO advocated for creating pricing structures and supply chains independent of Chinese influence to prevent potential monopolistic control over critical industries by China. He urged Australia and its allies to counteract this by supporting alternative sources of rare earths to ensure strategic autonomy in essential technologies and defense capabilities.

chairperson Anil Agarwal recently emphasized the increasing demand and functional value of metals such as copper, aluminium, zinc, and silver, comparing their importance to gold. In a statement on the social media platform X, Agarwal referred to these commodities as “critical minerals” and likened them to gold not just for their intrinsic value but for their pivotal role in new technologies.

According to Agarwal, these metals are integral to advancements in energy transition technologies, including solar PV cells, batteries, and electric vehicles, as well as in sectors like artificial intelligence, particularly in advanced semiconductors. He termed these resources as “green metals,” highlighting their recyclability and reduced environmental impact when mined with modern technology.

This discussion comes at a time when gold prices have experienced a 1% increase, driven by a weakening US dollar following subdued job data from the United States. Spot gold rose by 0.8% to $2,320.95 per ounce, while US gold futures for June delivery increased by 0.9% to $2,329.70 per ounce.

Agarwal’s comments underscore the necessity for India, noted as the world’s fastest-growing economy, to achieve self-sufficiency in these critical minerals to support its burgeoning manufacturing sector. He advocated for enhanced exploration efforts and simplified regulatory procedures to meet the rising demand, reflecting the strategic significance of these metals in the global economic landscape. icon

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