Rare Earths

China-Tied Fund Seeks to Axe Australia Rare Earths Firm’s Head


A fund with links to China is pushing for the removal of Australian rare earth developer Northern Minerals’ chairman months after its move for a higher stake in the miner was rejected on national interest grounds.

Singapore-based Yuxiao Fund, which owns a 9.8% stake in Northern Minerals, proposed a shareholder’s resolution that Chairman Nicholas Curtis be immediately removed as a director, Northern Minerals said in an exchange filing on Tuesday.

Yuxiao Fund proposed a second resolution to “review the legality and compliance of Nicholas Curtis’ conduct in the performance of his duties as a director and an officer” and to inspect the books of the company, Northern Minerals said.


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It said it was reviewing the validity of the proposals, and that it would comply with all legal requirements. The company also said it is subject to an annual audit and that it was in compliance with all regulations.

Singapore business registry filings for Yuxiao Fund show Wu Yuxiao is its sole shareholder and director and a Chinese citizen.

Northern Minerals has previously said that Wu Tao, the chairman of mainland China-based Jinan Yuxiao Group which has invested in mining projects in Mozambique and Australia, controls the fund.

The fund last year sought approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board to raise its ownership in Northern Minerals to 19.9%. But Treasurer Jim Chalmers in February blocked it from increasing its investment beyond 10% on national interest grounds.

The fund’s push to remove Curtis comes after Northern Minerals asked Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board to investigate whether ‘Chinese interests’ were pushing for “a series of share acquisitions” to bypass the ban, The Australian Financial Review reported.

Northern Minerals is developing the Browns Range heavy rare earths project in Western Australia, at a time when the sector has become increasingly strategic for its uses in green energy and defence.

Australia has said it is looking for friendly nations to build out its critical minerals industry as the West diversifies away from dominant producer China.


  • Reuters with additional inputs from Vishakha Saxena


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Vishakha Saxena

Vishakha Saxena is the Multimedia and Social Media Editor at Asia Financial. She has worked as a digital journalist since 2013, and is an experienced writer and multimedia producer. As a trader and investor, she is keenly interested in new economy, emerging markets and the intersections of finance and society. You can write to her at vishakha.saxena@asiafinancial.com

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