Toyota to establish rare earth plant in India

Japanese trading house Toyota Tsusho Corp said in a statement Wednesday that it would start to export to Japan in 2012 about 3,000 to 4,000 tonnes of rare-earth minerals annually.

Rare-earth minerals are used to produce hybrid cars, mobile phones and other high-tech products.

The company is to start building the plant in India's Orissa state at the beginning of 2011 and to launch production by the end of the year, in collaboration with Japan's Shin-Etsu Chemical Co and Indian Rare Earths Ltd, a subsidiary of the state-controlled Nuclear Power Corp of India.

Shin-Etsu Chemical is expected to provide technical support and to engage in product trading with the rare earths plant.Toyota Tsusho, which said the company had surveyed the rare earth resource potential throughout the world, is also developing the minerals in Vietnam.

With the two plants, the company will be able to supply around 10,000 tonnes of rare earths a year in 2013, roughly one-third of Japan's total demand, an unnamed company official was quoted by Kyodo News as saying.

China suspended shipments of rare-earth minerals to Japan in early September in an apparent protest at Japan's arrest of a Chinese captain whose fishing boat collided with Japanese Coast Guard vessels off a disputed set of islets in the East China Sea.

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