Hancock takes 10% of Arafura Rare Earths

Drilling at Arafura’s Nolans neodymium-praseodymium project in Australia. Credit: Arafura Resources Ltd.

Australia’s Hancock Prospecting, owned by iron ore magnate Gina Rinehart, said on Monday it has acquired a 10% stake in Arafura Rare Earths, raising the richest person in the country’s exposure to the booming battery minerals business.

According to a stock exchange filing, Hancock Prospecting took around half of a A$121 million ($82.43 million) placement by Arafura last week aimed at raising capital to develop the Nolans rare earths project in central Australia.

The stake will assist Arafura as it enters discussions with potential customers and other investors over the next year, it said. Shares, which have more than doubled year to date, were down 12.5% after the discounted placement.

Hancock Prospecting signed a deal with Korea’s Posco mid-year to cooperate in processing of secondary battery materials such as lithium and nickel, as Rinehart’s business look to increase exposure to the new energy boom.

Rinehart’s $28 billion fortune, according to Forbes, stems from iron ore.

($1 = 1.4676 Australian dollars)

(By Melanie Burton; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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