Sillamäe Could Become EU's Strategic Metals Storehouse
Molycorp Silmet has been approached by members of an EU task force looking to set up a stockpiling facility for rare earth metals, the company's CEO has said.
"I have been approached by the EU about stockpiling. There is a task force that is looking over strategic materials and they have contacted me. They were surprised that we do tantalum and niobium, which are also strategic materials," David O'Brock, head of the Sillamäe-based company, told Reuters.
O'Brock said he recommended to the task force that the EU stockpile a year worth of his plant's capacity or 3,000 tons of material.
Uneasiness within the EU about the supply of strategic metals, vital in the manufacturing of high technology products, grew last year as China, which produces 97 percent of the world's output, cut export quotas by 40 percent.
The Silmet facility produces about 2 percent of the rare earth metals on the global market. It was bought by the US firm Molycorp in April for 62 million euros.