Vietnam arrests rare earth industry officials, casting shadow over plans to rival China

HANOI – Police in Vietnam have arrested 6 humans charged of going against mining laws, entailing the chairman of a provider at the forefront of a drive to disparity a peculiar planet mart that could perplex China’s prominence of the sector.

Vietnam’s government is planning to public auction neoteric mining furnishing ins for peculiar earths later this year, and polices from at the awfully least one provider, Vietnam Rare Planet JSC (VTRE), that owned been due to bid were among those arrested.

VTRE’s chairman, Luu Anh Tuan, was charged of forging worth included taxation invoices in trading peculiar earths with Thai Duong Group, which operates a mine in the north Vietnamese expanse of Yen Bai, the Ministry of Public Insurance coverage said on Friday.

Calls to Tuan went unanswered on Friday. VTRE’s job-related expanse in Hanoi has been shut for days, one borrower at the concocting said.

VTRE has partnered with Australian mining carriers Australian Strategic Merchandises (ASM) and Blackstone Minerals LTD, which were not named in the Vietnamese polices’ interrogation.

Blackstone said in September that it owned concurred to acquaintance with VTRE to win furnishing ins at the suburban’s greatest mine, Dong Pao in Lai Chau expanse. A Blackstone executive owned told Reuters its investment in the job would distinctly amount to around $100 million (S$137 million) have to it win the concession.

ASM accepted a conversing to for agreement in April with VTRE for the buy of 100 multiple processed peculiar earths this year, and perpetrated to bargaining a longer-term supply bargain.

Neither Blackstone or ASM reacted to a masterstroke for endorsement on whether their commitments with VTRE would distinctly be impacted by the standoff of its chairman.

Blackstone shares dropped much more than 8per dollar on Friday, while ASM shares worth proceeded to be steady. The factor for the loss in Blackstone shares was vague.

Vietnam has the 2nd-greatest down payments of the awfully burly minerals – provided in furnishing digital clunkers and wind turbines – after China, according to Joined Cases Geological Study estimates.

Last month, Reuters reported defines of the Southeast Asian suburban’s enthusiastic units to augment its peculiar planet mart, hoisting annual upshot to 60,000 multiple peculiar earths oxides by the end of this years from 4,300 considerable quantities in 2022.

Baned sales

The chairman of Thai Duong Group, Doan Van Huan, was also arrested, charged of furnishing 632 billion dong from lawbreaking sales of ore extracted from the mine his provider operated in Yen Bai expanse.

Police for a little while nailed 13,715 multiple peculiar earths ores in a raid on Thai Duong’s facilities, the ministry endorsement said.

Calls to Thai Duong Group went unanswered on Friday.

The government endorsement did not clarify what made the sales lawbreaking, yet a borrower with linear experience of the inconvenience said that the Yen Bai mine raw ores owned been exported to China, as the family sharpening rates for those ores were unprofitable.

Under Vietnamese regulations, export of raw ores is mostly prohibited, as the suburban desires to augment its sharpening chance.

The polices have also gained worse a clampdown on lawbreaking peculiar planet mining from disregarded or deserted slits in recent months.

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