According to The Australian Financial Review, Australia's success in combating COVID-19 has helped rare earths hopeful Hastings secure a crucial supply agreement in Germany, as Berlin seeks to diversify its supply chains away from China.
Hastings said it signed a binding, 10-year off-take agreement with automotive parts giant Schaeffler on Wednesday, allowing it to begin negotiating the terms of debt funding agreements with the Australian and German governments.
The ASX-listed junior miner, which has a market capitalisation of $120 million, is benefiting from fears in the United States and among its allies that China could exploit its dominance of the rare earths trade by cutting off supply to advanced manufacturers.
Rare earths are used in everything from electric vehicles to wind turbines and weapons. China controls about 80 per cent of the global market and has threatened to cut off supply amid trade tensions with the US.
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