Western Australia Has a First-mover Advantage in Rare Earths

David Smith of Western Australia’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety explains why investors should pay attention to the Australian state.

Interview by Scott Tibballs; article text by Priscila Barrera.

Without doubt, the resource sector is key to Western Australia’s economy ― with mining accounting for 30 percent, or AU$79 billion, of its gross state product.

David Smith, director general for Western Australia’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, talked to the Investing News Network at this year’s International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) about why investors should pay attention to the Australian state.

“All Australian states have aspirations around the resource sector, we compete in a healthy way,” he said. “Western Australia has some natural advantages in terms of its resource deposits and basic geology, but it also has some advantages in terms of policy development, innovations and the infrastructure that is set up around that.”

Western Australia is home to many resource projects, from iron to gold — but it is also home to the only rare earths producer outside of China: Lynas (ASX:LYC,OTC Pink:LYSCF). Smith shared his thoughts on how the state is leveraging its role as a major player in the space.

“(Western Australia) produces 20 percent of the world’s rare earths, we are small in volume — but as many countries are now identifying — it is of strategic importance,” he said. “We’ve got the geology that is well studied and established, we’ve got a good regulatory regime … and we’ve got the science hubs we are developing around our scientific knowledge and expertise.”

Rare earths have been in the spotlight this year after the US deemed production a matter of national security, designating rare earths as critical minerals.

“I think that has created an opportunity that perhaps was not as transparent before,” Smith said. “But it is not just the US that is in this space, and the fact that we’ve got operations gives us the confidence that companies can expand production in Western Australia in a safe, sustainable and responsible way.”

Listen to the interview above to learn more about Western Australia, rare earths and investment in the state. You can also listen to our full list of IMARC interviews on YouTube here.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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