Australian magnate Rinehart takes stake in US miner MP Materials

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -U.S. rare-earths producer MP Materials said Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart’s mining firm had taken a 5.3% stake in the company, expanding her investments in the mineral ore sector.

In a regulatory filing last week, the Nevada-based miner said Hancock Prospecting, owned by Australia’s richest person Rinehart, holds about 8.8 million shares of MP Materials.

MP Materials is the second-biggest producer of rare earths outside China after Australia’s Lynas Rare Earths. Lynas ended talks with MP Materials over a potential merger in February.

Hancock declined to comment on Wednesday.

The iron ore miner has been building stakes in critical minerals projects, including rare earths. Hancock’s investments include a 6.17% stake in Brazilian Rare Earths and a 9.14% holdings in Arafura Rare Earths, according to LSEG data.

(Reporting by Melanie Burton in Melbourne and Roshia Sabu in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)