Gina Rinehart builds stake in Lynas Rare Earths

Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman. Image: Sky News Australia via YouTube

Gina Rinehart has amassed a near-6% stake in Lynas Rare Earths Ltd., adding to the iron ore billionaire’s portfolio of stakes in critical mineral producers vital to the energy transition and lifting shares in the Australian producer.

Through her private company Hancock Prospecting Ltd., Rinehart added 6.6 million shares in the Sydney-listed company on Friday for just over A$40 million, according to a Lynas filing late on Tuesday. The private company has been regularly purchasing the company’s stock last December.

Lynas is one of the only rare earths producers outside China — which dominates the supply chain — with a mine and processing plant in Western Australia and a refinery in Malaysia. Its shares jumped early on Wednesday to touch the highest level since January, before easing to trade up just over 3% at A$6.30 as of late morning in Sydney.

Rinehart’s bet on the green transition made headlines last year as she waded into lithium takeover deals and took stakes in a handful of companies with large footprints across Australia, including Arafura Rare Earths Ltd., Liontown Resources Ltd., and Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd.

She joined forces with Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile, the world’s No. 2 lithium producer, for the takeover of Azure Minerals Ltd., approved by shareholders this month.

While her ultimate game plan remains unclear, Rinehart’s bets reflect the strategic challenges ahead for iron ore and further deals could follow. According to filings associated with the Azure deal, Hancock Prospecting has cash and cash equivalents of A$19.5 billion ($12.5 billion). A spokesperson for Hancock did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this year, Lynas was in discussions with MP Materials Corp. over a potential merger, but this failed to happen. Rinehart already holds 5.3% of the rare earths producer, and as a major shareholder in both companies could be looking to rekindle a deal.

(By Paul-Alain Hunt)


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