Fight against Commodity Laundering and Lynas’ Takeover (70)
China Puts an End to Commodity Laundry
China is stepping up its crackdown on the illegal mining of rare earths from may 2019 and is closing the borders to Myanmar. Myanmar had become a major supplier of rare earth-containing ores in 2018, as reported by Reuters. However, the Chinese government now assumes that some of the raw materials imported from Myanmar were originally illegally mined in China.
To stop this “commodity wash,” China is completely closing the borders with the neighboring country for now, after imports had already been curtailed in 2018. In the regions near Myanmar, heavy rare earths such as dysprosium and terbium are particularly abundant in ore. We therefore expect a declining availability of these raw materials.
Sources: reuters.com & news.metal.com
Lynas Rejects Takeover Bid
Australian Mine Firm Lynas rejected a purchase offer from public company Wesfarmers in early April. Lynas cited the additional conditions of the commandment as the reason. This included, among other things, that the processing of the raw materials continues to take place in Malaysia. However, the licenses for this will expire in September 2019 – and the negotiations are likely to remain at a standstill.
That could suggest Lynas would like to move the processing. If successful, Lynas’ market position would be good, as they are one of the few producers outside China to have the potential to bring significant quantities of rare earths to market.
Source: wallstreet-online.de (german)
Built-up Integrated Photovoltaics Is on the Rise
In March, the Forum Bauwerkintegrated Photovoltaics focused on its namesake; photovoltaic systems (BIPV). Solar plants on buildings are also installed on the roof in a classic way. The building-integrated systems, on the other hand, can be executed as darkening or façade elements.
By now even colored plates are offered, which are no longer recognizable as photovoltaics. The loss of performance is not even 10 percent. The possibilities of these products could bring momentum back into the paralyzed photovoltaic industry in Germany. The construction integrated photovoltaic plant is also expected to have a positive impact on the demand for the required technology metals – primarily gallium, indium and tellurium.
New Offshore Deals enlighten Rare Earths Outlook
So far there was only little development in offshore wind farms in certain European countries. But offshore plants have been extremely scarce to date. in France, Poland and Italy who are among those countries with the longest coastlines in Europe. Especially in France and Poland there seems to be a lot of support from their Governments. For example, France plans to increase the share of renewable energy to 40 % by 2030. Even if many years will pass before the realization – the use of the so-called magnetic metals is certain.
Praseodymium-Neodymium-Iron-Boron-Magnets: “Green” magnets from Brazil
Researchers at Georg Agricola University of Technology in Bochum have been looking at the marketability of Didymium-Fe-B-Magnets (neodymium-praseodymium-iron-boron-magnet). The three authors Drusche, Krause and Niski, present their results in their essay “The ‘Green Magnet ‘” which was recently published in the scientific journal ERZMETALL. Even those who are not interested in the details of the analysis will find solid basic Information on rare earths and their production and market conditions in the article.
Good for Investors: Green magnets would be a sustainable solution for renewable energies that works without the substitution of rare earths. Rare earths, the article makes clear, are ecopolitically hard to characterise:
“The use of Nd-Fe-B permanent magnets with a negative ecological footprint directly contradicts their application in applications that are associated with sustainable future technologies such as wind energy and electric mobility.” (p. 41, transl. TRADIUM).
Green magnets offer a way out. The ecological footprint of these high-performance magnets is smaller compared to neodymium-boron-iron-magnets. This is supposed to be ensured by the use of Brazilian rare earth elements, which are established as a more sustainable and “greener” variant of Chinese products on the market. Here “social aspects are taken into account in the production of magnets and a respectful use of the resource human/employee is maintained” (p. 42, transl. TRADIUM).