Toyota Tsusho to build rare earth plant in India

Toyota Tsusho to build rare earth plant in India

Tokyo: Toyota Tsusho Corp, a Toyota Motor Corp group company, said on Wednesday it will build a rare earth processing plant in India and start shipping 3,000 to 4,000 tonnes a year of the minerals to Japan in 2012.

Japan’s trading houses are scrambling to secure new sources of rare earths - vital for making auto parts and high-tech products - after shipments from dominant producer China stalled after it cut export quotas.

The plant, to be built in the state of Orissa by the end of 2011, will manufacture rare earths from by-products of the process of extracting uranium and thorium fuel from monazite minerals at Indian Rare Earth Ltd. The firm is a unit of the Nuclear Power Corp of India.

Japan’s Shin-Etsu Chemical Co will provide technical support.

Toyota Tsusho plans imports including cerium, neodymium and lanthanum, a company spokesman said.

Japan’s third-biggest trading company Sumitomo Corp said this week it was in talks with Molycorp of the United States on a rare earth supply deal.

Sojitz Corp, the No.6 trader, last month reached a deal with Australian miner Lynas Corp to secure more than 9,000 tonnes of rare earths per year from early 2013.