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Growth envisaged for rare earth applications and recycling

Global – The rare earth metals market will increase 14% in the period from 2015 to 2019, it has been predicted in a new study from ReportsNReports. Expansion in the supplier base ‘€˜will drastically change the supplier landscape and is expected to lead to a softening of prices going forward’€™, the analysts contend.

Worldwide demand for rare earths is projected to increase 3.5 percent per annum to 149 500 tonnes in 2019, valued at US$4.5 billion, the study says.

In terms of consumption, China accounted for around 63% of market share during 2014 and is expected to maintain its leadership over the four years under consideration.

‘The increased demand for rare earths from the automotive and electronic industries in this region is driving the market,’ analysts acknowledge. Recycling of rare earth metals from electronic wastes is ‘gaining prominence’ and is expected to contribute to the market growth during the forecast period.

Innovative recycling processes are being adopted by, notably, Germany, France and Japan because they have limited reserves but high consumption. Among the wide-ranging applications for rare earths, their increasing uses in the wind energy sector and NiMH batteries are cited as ‘the prominent ones’.

The technological advances being made in magnetic resonance imaging and superconductivity will further drive the growth of this segment in the coming years, it is added. Globally, around 250 firms are currently involved in the exploration and production of rare earth metals – most of them in China and to a lesser degree in the USA, Australia and Canada.

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