Arafura Resources Ltd (ASX:ARU) is hoping to become the world's biggest supplier of rare earths thanks to a scientific breakthrough.
The scientists at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation or ANSTO have managed to successfully separate middle rare earth oxides and heavy rare earth oxides in a pioneering experiment.
The Chief Executive of Arafura Resources, Dr. Steve Ward said that the discovery was a very substantial milestone in the company's path to becoming a pre-eminent supplier of rare earth oxides to the world from operations based wholly within Australia.
Arafura Resources operates the Nolans rare earths project in the Northern Territory. There are a number of uses for rare earths such as in batteries, lasers and x-ray machines. The bulk of the world's rare earths are produced by China but Australia also has good resources of the elements which the new breakthrough will make easier to exploit.
Rare earths are a collection of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table, namely scandium, yttrium, and the fifteen lanthanides. Scandium and yttrium are considered rare earths since they tend to occur in the same ore deposits as the lanthanides and exhibit similar chemical properties.
Shares in Arafura Resources were trading at $1.010 midday Tuesday 14th September, AEST.