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Rare earths prices soar

January 2021 | Market

For two to three months, prices for many rare earths have been rising rapidly. Particularly affected are the so-called magnetic metals terbium and neodymium; most recently, dysprosium and praseodymium. As we reported in August 2020, the current boom in renewable energies and drive technologies is certainly playing an important role.

Three possible reasons for the price increase

An initial enlightenment recently came from the monopoly owner for rare earths itself: China. According to a report by the news service Argus, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has adopted a number of restrictions. These cover all areas related to rare earths, from extraction to processing and use in the processing industry. Strict quotas are imposed on all these actors. The export of certain goods can no longer take place without explicit approval from the authorities. The new, but also the existing regulations will also be monitored more closely.

In addition to these developments, China is now significantly intensifying its own stockpiling of raw materials, which began many years ago. According to an assessment by the industry service Roskill (last paragraph), the Chinese Authority for Raw Materials Reserves (SRB) is to buy and store more strategic raw materials after a three-year hiatus. The SRB is thus moving further and further away from its original role of balancing market volatility, Roskillsaid.

For many years, China has been the world’s largest rare earth consumer. Obviously, the Chinese government wants to use such actions to ensure that domestic industry will be supplied with sufficient raw material in the long term.

Sources: Roskill


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