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Avalon Rare Metals is now Avalon Advanced Materials

Avalon’s Nechalacho rare earth project, at Thor Lake, NWT, will remain inactive in 2016. (Image courtesy of Avalon Advanced Materials via Flickr)

Canada’s Avalon Rare Metals (TSX:AVL) (OTCQX:AVLNF), until recently mostly known for its incursion in the rare earths market, has changed its name to Avalon Advanced Materials.

The move comes as the company decided to freeze its incursion in the rare earth market and focus instead on lithium and tin.

Prices for rare earths — used in high-tech sectors — have continued to drop due to a global glut triggered in part by illegal mining in China, the top producer.

Name change follows the company decision to focus on lithium and tin, instead of rare earths.

Only last year, prices for the coveted materials fell some 30-50%, even though there was a 7% increase in overall demand, Avalon said.

This market downturn has resulted in the bankruptcy of at least two potential new producers outside China and a dramatic decline in investor interest, which has dent the availability of capital for development projects, such as Avalon’s Nechalacho, in the Northwest Territories.

Consequently, the company said in a separate statement that Nechalacho will remain inactive in 2016, while Avalon re-focuses its efforts on its Ontario-based Separation Rapids Lithium Project and the East Kemptville Tin-Indium Project, in Nova Scotia.