The owner of the only U.S. rare earths mine is going on a hiring spree as it looks to significantly boost production, part of a strategy to build out American refining capability after China raised tariffs on the minerals amid an escalating trade war.
By next year, MP Materials aims to be the first U.S. company to refine rare earths since 2015 when Molycorp Inc, the former owner of California’s Mountain Pass mine, went bankrupt, executives said.
The mine has relied on China for rare earth processing, fueling national security concerns. China is the world’s largest processor and producer of the 17 specialized minerals used to build weapons, consumer electronics and a range of other goods. There are no known substitutes.