MP Materials and Sumitomo Corp. strengthen rare earth supply in Japan
MP Materials Corp. and Sumitomo Corp. announced an agreement to diversify and strengthen rare earth supplies in Japan. Under the agreement, Sumitomo will serve as the exclusive distributor of NdPr oxide produced by MP Materials to Japanese customers. Further, the companies will collaborate on the supply of rare earth metals and other products.
Rare earth materials such as neodymium-praseodymium, or NdPr, are used to produce the world’s most powerful and efficient magnets. Rare earth magnets are key inputs to electrification and advanced technologies including electric vehicles, wind turbines, and various electronic devices.
The effort to electrify and decarbonize the global economy is causing demand for rare earths to grow rapidly, outpacing new supply. China is the world’s leading producer. Access to MP Materials’ U.S.-produced rare earths will stabilize, diversify, and strengthen a supply chain of critical importance to Japan’s manufacturing sector.
Sumitomo has a long history in the rare earth industry. SC pioneered trading and distribution of rare earth materials in the 1980s. To help establish a stable global supply chain for rare earths, SC has engaged in rare earth exploration, development, production, and trading activities globally. With this knowledge, Sumitomo will continue to build value added trade by utilizing the company’s enhanced management resources.
MP Materials’ Mountain Pass facility is the largest source of rare earth production in the Western Hemisphere. Mountain Pass is a closed loop, zero-discharge facility with a dry tailings process that operates under stringent U.S. and California environmental regulations.
Sumitomo and MP Materials will leverage mutual strengths to contribute to the stable procurement of rare earth materials in Japan and support efforts to decarbonize society.