Rare Earths: Demand Continues to Exceed Supply

16. May 2022 | Finances

Price level likely to remain high, according to an expert. Development of alternative materials time-consuming.

Rare earth prices are likely to remain high for the next few years, Tim Harrison, managing director of Ionic Rare Earths, told industry service S&P Global Commodity Insights. Supply is not growing at the same rate as demand, said Harrison, whose company is developing a rare earth project in Uganda that is expected to begin production by 2024. It is unlikely that the situation will fundamentally change. He could not imagine where the necessary quantities of raw materials would come from. Building rare earth processing capacity is also time and capital intensive, Harrison previously told The Australian.

At present, it is not expected that rare earths will be replaced by alternative materials, for example in the production of electric motors. The use of these expensive raw materials is justified by their efficiency, which cannot yet be achieved by other materials, the manager added.

Electromobility, but also the expansion of wind energy, are among the drivers of demand for rare earths such as neodymium and praseodymium, which are used as magnetic materials in motors and generators, respectively.

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