The economics of the rare earth elements

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 84, No. 947, 1991

Jane Spooner and Kenneth A. Grace, Micon International Limited, Toronto, and Nicola Robjohns, Roskill Information Services Ltd., London

The important volume end use sectors for the rare earth elements and yttrium continue to be in steelmaking, petroleum cracking catalysts and glass polishing. The market sectors which may provide future high volume demand, to replace the older sectors where demand has declined over the past decade, include magnets, automobile catalysts, ceramics and superconductors. Increases in production capacity in all major rare earth producing countries are expected to restrain large price increases for high purity rare earth oxides over the short term. A sharp increase in demand for yttrium in advanced ceramics and superconductors would lead to a shortage in separation capacity, however, and to a corresponding rise in prices for separated rare earths.
Mots Clés: Rare earth elements, Mineral economics.