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Molycorp Silmet Expands, Becoming Largest Producer of Niobium

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The US-incorporated producer of rare earth metals Molycorp Silmet, based in northeastern Estonia, may soon become the world's largest producer of niobium, a rare earth metal used in electronics, aviation and energy production.

"When we finish our niobium project [in February], we will be the world's largest producer of pure niobium," said company director David O'Brock.

This year, Molycorp Silmet plans to invest 14 million euros into a new production line and lab, creating around fifty new jobs in the Sillamäe region, reported ETV. "The world market demands increasingly purer compounds, and we need to respond," said O'Brock.

The company will begin production of high-purity lanthanum and cerium compounds. It will also reopen its project for neodymium, a rare element that most people carry around in their pockets these days, essential in manufacturing modern cell phones and household appliances.


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