LONDON – Toshiba Corp. has signed a memorandum of understanding with Mongolia's MNFCC LLC agreeing to discussions on cooperation in the development of Mongolia's mineral resources, including uranium, rare earth and rare metals products.
Many of the obscure minerals, metals and their oxides are used in electronics manufacture and have been rising in price in recent years as China has developed a monopoly position in their supply.
In July China reduced rare earth export quotas for the rest of the year by 72 percent, inflating prices more than six-fold for some rare earth materials vital to the energy, military, electronics and manufacturing sectors. China just has begun exporting rare earths to Japan after a two-month suspension due to a territorial row.
Naoto Kan, the Prime Minister of Japan, met the Mongolian President, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, on Nov. 19, 2010, and the two agreed to build a strategic partnership and to secure mutually beneficial cooperation in developing mineral resources in Mongolia. Further moves to promote an economic relationship between Japan and Mongolia are expected.
Under the terms of the MOU Toshiba will conduct feasibility studies on key social infrastructure essential for securing Mongolia's continued economic growth, including thermal, nuclear and solar photovoltaic power systems and transmission and distribution networks and will seek to promote mutual development of mineral resources in an effort to secure a stable supply.Related links and articles:Rare earth supply chain: Industry’s common cause Opinion: Japan’s three-step plan to depend less on ChinaJapan develops electric motor sans rare earth metals