LS Cable & System Asia, the largest cable maker in Vietnam, is entering the rare-earth mineral market, TheElec has learned.
The company plans to collaborate with a local company, and then supply the minerals to affiliate LS MnM that will smelt them, sources said.
Rare-earth minerals refer to 17 heavy metals with similar chemical characteristics.
They are used in the production of lithium-ion batteries and semiconductors.
LS Cable & System’s move is done to likely reduce reliance on imports from China.
It will also likely supply the minerals to LS Group affiliates which produce nickel sulfate and precursors used in the production of batteries.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol made a state visit to Vietnam in June and LS Cable & System’s plan likely came up during the meetings.
According to the United States Geological Survey, of the 120 million metric tonnes of rare-earth minerals in the world, Vietnam had 22 million metric tonnes, second only to China’s 44 million metric tonnes.
China designated rare-earth minerals as requiring permission for export since 2015. Malaysia is also planning to do something similar, making the procurement of rare-earth minerals a supply chain issue.