Vietnam and Japan are scheduled to sign an agreement on establishing a rare earth co-exploitation business when Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda meets his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung on October 31.
The joint venture will be run by Vietnam’s Lavreco minerals exploitation company and Japan’s Toyota Tsusho and Sojitz groups, Japan’s Nikkei daily reports.
It’s also possible that another Japanese national economic group would invest in this joint venture but the investment amount has not been announced.
The production of rare earth will begin at Lai Chau province’s Dong Pao mine in 2013 with the aim of providing more than 20 percent of Japan’s demand for rare earth in future.
The mine is expected to provide 3,000 tonnes of rare earth metals per year in 2013 and double the capacity in the second phase.
Under the to-be-signed agreement, a joint research centre will be set up in Hanoi in 2012 in order to develop technology for separating rare earth metals from other minerals and refining them with limited environmental impact.
Japan will give Vietnam the necessary equipment and send geologists to help train Vietnamese engineers in detecting rare earth via satellite images.