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Wesfarmers' Lynas takeover in doubt on possible Chinese rare earths export play

Wesfarmers Ltd.'s bid to acquire Lynas Corp. Ltd. is looking bleak as the rare earths producer's share price grew 15% in May 29 trading on the possibility that China may restrict exports of rare earth minerals amid mounting trade tensions with the U.S., The West Australian reported.

In afternoon trading May 30, Lynas share prices hit A$2.77, which is above Wesfarmers' rejected cash acquisition proposal of A$2.25 per share. At market close, the share price was A$2.74.

China's moves to tighten supply of the commodity — a key component in smartphones, electric vehicles and military gear — could enhance the attraction of Lynas, the world's major non-Chinese supplier of rare earths, the report said.

China accounts for about 80% of rare earths exported to the U.S. The U.S. Defense Department is requesting new funding from the federal government to increase the production of rare earth minerals in the country and reduce reliance on imports from China.