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Supply Chain

Japan takes first stake in heavy rare earths to reduce China reliance

Sojitz, JOGMEC aim to fill 30% of domestic demand in deal with Australian miner

A heavy rare-earth mine at Mount Weld in Australia. Japan is investing in operations here to secure supplies of the materials. (Photo courtesy of Lynas Rare Earths)

TOKYO -- Japan has acquired its first interest in heavy rare-earth elements, which are essential for magnets used in electric vehicle motors, in a step toward weaning off a reliance on China, the world's top producer.

Japanese trading house Sojitz and the Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security (JOGMEC) will invest approximately 200 million Australian dollars ($134.7 million) in Australia's Lynas Rare Earths by the end of March through Japan Australia Rare Earths, a joint venture set up by the two Japanese entities, Sojitz said in a statement Tuesday.

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