The chief executive of Australian rare-earth metal mining company Arafura has resigned.

A statement released by Arafura today said Chris Tonkin would be replaced by current chief financial officer Gavin Lockyer on July 23.

The  strain of travelling between his Melbourne home and the company's Perth headquarters was behind Mr Tonkin's decision, according to an Arafura spokesperson.

The companies mines rare-earth metals; obscure elements of the periodic table which are most commonly used in high-end technological applications. Much of the world’s recent technological developments and new compounds have been made possible by the identification, mining and harnessing of rare-earth metals.

Arafura shares have risen slightly after the news this morning, check here for the most recent price.

The company’s Chairman Ian Kowalick says appoint the former financial chief as CEO was due t his good guidance in recent years. He says his focus will be on reducing costs and creating wealth for shareholders.