Rare Earth Metals Market 2017

China Rare Earth Metals Market to emerge as a pivotal regional growth ground over 2017-2024, rising number of exploration activities to expedite the industry expansion

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Following the lines of numerous industry verticals, rare earth metals market has also succumbed to the vast expanse of technology, emerging as a pivotal sphere of the polymers space. In the current scenario, numerous electronic components ranging from computer hard drives and cellular phones to electronic displays and hybrid vehicles have been deploying rare earth metals. Taking into account the surging popularity of rare earth metals, many regional governments have been rather proactive in exploration and excavation activities. Despite China being a near dominant player currently is rare earth metals industry, other countries including U.S. and Japan have also been working toward making their presence felt across this vertical. The rapid increase in the exploration of new sites across the various geographies is poised to boost rare earth metals market trends over the years ahead.

U.S. rare earth metals market size, by application, 2013 – 2024 (USD Million)
U.S. rare earth metals market size, by application, 2013 - 2024 (USD Million)

Presently, it has been observed that many countries are dependent on China for rare earth metals, owing to the fact that the country houses numerous mining sites. However, other excavation sites are being unearthed for these metals, in the process of which myriad geographies are becoming a crucial part of the regional landscape of rare earth metals market. Recently, Japanese researchers have successfully found a new mining site in the southeast region of Tokyo. As per estimates, the site encompasses 16 million metric tons of rare earth elements that are sufficient enough to fulfill the global demands for these metals for over a hundred years approximately.

A survey by the United States Geological Survey, in 2017, global deposits of rare earths amounted to 120 million tons. China holds a lion’s share of this value and is currently the world’s leading producer of rare earth metals. However, rather than exporting them to other countries, the nation is looking forward to using the metals for domestic technology applications. The fact that the Chinese government is encouraging foreign investments to speed up rare earth metals exploration activities provides further evidence to the aforementioned statement. The supportive stand taken by Chinese policymakers for promoting the excavation and exploration activities is thus likely to propel China rare earth metals market share.

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Speaking along the same lines, recurring geopolitical objectives about the essential use of rare earth metals for consumer electronics products and renewable energy technologies is also expected to have a commendable impact on future product requirement. For instance, the Japanese government has deployed favorable policies and strategies for encouraging natural resource management activities. In fact, the government allotted USD 1.5 billion to back Japanese exploration companies that may help the nation race ahead of China in rare earth metals industry.

Taking into account the potential that this vertical holds, rare earth metals market giants have been making major investments in numerous drilling programs across several geographies. Validating the aforementioned fact, a few days before, the Canada headquartered mineral exploration and development company, Mkango Resources Ltd. took a step forward to carry out drilling in the East-African country, Malawi. This program is fully funded by a subsidiary of Noble Group, Talaxis Limited. With this program, Mkango is looking forward to the completion of an updated Mineral Resource Estimate by 2018 and consolidate its stance in rare earth metals market.

Another collaboration of the company with Metalysis Ltd., in 2017 focused advanced alloy manufacturing with praseodymium and neodymium. These permanent magnets are essential components of green energy technologies such as electric vehicles and wind turbines. The shifting trends toward the adoption of renewable energy facilities across the globe is thus poised to stimulate rare earth metals industry share over the years ahead.

Speaking of green energy initiatives, one of the leading electric vehicle manufacturers in the U.S., Tesla is looking forward to procuring a huge proportion of rare earth metals to produce magnets for its futuristic electric cars. In addition, the U.S. military also requires super magnets for its next-generation electric motors and missile destroyer. In modern combat vehicles, Common Modular Power Systems (CMPS) are extensively deployed, which needs compact and powerful magnets. These magnets are manufactured from rare earth metals such as neodymium, terbium, praseodymium, samarium, and dysprosium. It is thus rather overt, that heavy investments by regional governments on the development of next-generation weapons such as Humvee-mounted Laser Avenger and SaberShot Photonic Disruptor is likely to augment rare earth metals market outlook.

The rapidly increasing mining activities across several geographies are likely to revolutionize rare earth metals market, generating highly profitable opportunities for industry participants. The continuous involvement of mineral exploration companies and regional governments in surveying activities to discover untapped mineral resources is also likely to further push production capacity in the future. Driven by the surging use of these metals for various high-tech applications, rare earth metals industry size is expected to surpass a revenue collection of USD 20 billion by the end of 2024.

Author NameSunil Hebbalkar