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Pentagon to fund rare-earth refinery by Australia's Lynas

Washington seeks to reduce reliance on China

A Lynas mine in Western Australia: Rare-earth elements are mined worldwide, but refining is largely handled in China. (Photo courtesy of Lynas)

SYDNEY -- Australian rare-earth miner Lynas will receive funding from the U.S. Defense Department for a planned processing plant in Texas, a project that Washington hopes will lessen its reliance on China for strategically important materials.

The funding will let Lynas and American partner Blue Line "complete a detailed market and strategy study plus detailed planning and design work for the construction," the Australian company said Monday. The amount was not disclosed, though Lynas has estimated the cost of this initial stage at 2 million Australian dollars to AU$3 million ($1.42 million to $2.13 million).

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