Hochschild Mining, a British gold-and-silver miner, views the hype around Elon Musk's electric-car startup as great news for one of its new projects.
"We've all seen the Tesla stock going up quite impressively in recent weeks," Hochschild's finance chief, Ramon Barua, said during the miner's earnings call on Wednesday. The astounding rally suggests investors expect electric cars to become more mainstream, and many are assessing which metals will be needed to power the necessary batteries, he continued.
"There's a lot of talk around cobalt, lithium, nickel, but not a lot on rare earths, which are crucial in terms of the efficiency of the motors," Barua said. Those minerals are "really fundamental for this revolution to take place."
China is the market leader in rare earths, as a handful of Chinese companies control the ionic clay deposits where the minerals are found, Barua said. However, Hochschild acquired the Biolantanidos deposit in Chile for $56 million last October — the only economically viable ionic clay deposit outside of China, Barua said.
"That's why this project is so unique and so important to the future and to the electric revolution," he added.
The deposit is especially rich in dysprosium and terbium, two heavy rare earths that are needed for magnets to perform in extreme temperatures — a common requirement for electric vehicles, Barua said on the call.
While Hochschild remains focused on gold and silver, it has assembled a dedicated management team and complete geological team to oversee the Biolantanidos project, he added.
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