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  • you may not have heard of neodymium but you're probably carrying some of it

  • around with you right now it's in your cellphone your headphones and you might

  • be driving several pounds of it around in your car neodymium is one of 17

  • chemically similar elements called rare earth elements and demand for this metal

  • is on the rise neodymium is responsible for most if not all of the growth in

  • rare earth demand at the moment neodymium comes from the ground it's a

  • rare earth metal and none of them are actually rare they're just hard to get

  • out of the ground Merritt's are quite distinct among

  • themselves within that family but one of the characteristics that they do all

  • share are these fantastic magnetic and conductive properties for an iphone to

  • vibrate for air pods to play music for wind turbines to generate power and for

  • a Toyota Prius or Tesla Model 3 motor to spin they need magnets powerful magnets

  • if you combine neodymium with iron and boron you can make a

  • neodymium-iron-boron magnet which is the most powerful type of permanent magnet

  • ever created in the case of your cell phone and earbuds using neodymium

  • magnets means they can be physically tiny but still strong for motors using

  • permanent magnets means having powerful efficient motors that use fewer

  • electromagnetic components magnets might seem trivial and most useful for

  • sticking things on your fridge but the neodymium-iron-boron magnets was

  • actually worth eleven point three billion dollars in 2017 in a couple

  • decades who were forecast to have over a million electric vehicles on the road in

  • the US and that's gonna cause demand of neodymium as a surge demand is currently

  • outstripping supply on the order of two or three thousand tons per year today

  • that supply comes from China which produces more than 80% of the world's

  • neodymium in 2017 alone China mines 105 thousand metric tons of rare earths

  • while the US has only produced about 43 thousand metric tons combined in the

  • last twenty years but it wasn't always this way

  • the United States used to be the most important single produce

  • same country for errors from a single mine called the Mountain Pass mine in

  • Southern California near the border with Nevada in the 1960s and 70s this mine

  • was the dominant rare earth mine in the world around the time that was happening

  • China was investing a deeply in its own rare earth metal mining and production

  • and succeeded so from the late 90s to 2010 China became the dominant player

  • and they control a majority of market the risks involved in relying so

  • significantly on a single source for such a valuable commodity were

  • illustrated during a trade dispute in 2010 in 2010 the price per metric ton

  • was right around $50,000 and then in 2011 the price per metric ton jumped up

  • to 250,000 dollars while the price has since come back down concerns remain

  • earlier this year rare earths narrowly avoided being included on a new list of

  • u.s. tariffs on Chinese goods originally in the two hundred billion dollar

  • proposed tranche of Chinese Tarot's neodymium and other rare earth metals

  • were on that list interestingly the final list of 6,000 Chinese products

  • that were targeted a neodymium and the rare earth metals were exempted and I

  • think that's interesting it shows how important rare earth metals are to the

  • US economy shows were concerned about it and I think it shows to the Chinese that

  • were vulnerable they're more evidence of these elements importance is that the US

  • is going to start producing rare earths again the mountain pass mine in

  • California was recently bought out of bankruptcy by two US investment firms

  • called MP materials the company says it wants to rebuild a rare earth industry

  • in America and well right now MP material still has to ship material to

  • China for further refinement sources close to the company say that it plans

  • to be fully self-sufficient in the US within 18 months historically though

  • extracting and processing these materials has not been without

  • consequence if you want to open a neodymium mine you're going to bring up

  • a whole bunch of other elements sometimes thorium sometimes uranium and

  • what this does is it creates alongside your mining operation

  • a radioactive waste management problem it's very difficult to open a mine in a

  • particular place without destroying the landscape and livelihoods that were

  • previously there but clinger is optimistic that as demand rises better

  • processes will be implemented one of the things that is good about the projected

  • increase in demand for neodymium is that we will likely see a diversification of

  • neodymium supply and my hope is with that we will also see increased

  • international cooperation around recycling and reclaiming neodymium from

  • spent electronic motors when we succumb to these doomsday scenarios that China's

  • could quote unquote hold the rest of the world hostage with its for supply what

  • we're actually doing is we're failing to take responsibility for our own

  • production needs and we're also further distracting from the very real potential

  • to clean up the entire supply chain here at home and in collaboration of

  • international partners

  • you

  • you

you may not have heard of neodymium but you're probably carrying some of it

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B1 US rare earth rare earth demand china supply

Neodymium Is In Demand And China Controls Its Supply

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    joey joey posted on 2021/06/05
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