Prices surge as Electric Vehicle OEMs look for resilient supply chain

“We have to collectively work out what needs to happen for the rare earths industry to capture this moment of rapid technological change and build the global magnet supply chains to sustain it,” Constantine Karayannopoulos, CEO of Neo Performance Materials told delegates at this week’s Metal Events 17th International Rare Earths Conference in London.

Karayannopoulos paraphrasing a quote from the movie Jaws, “we’re going to need a bigger boat”, highlighted the urgent need for significant additional supply to be commissioned to avoid demand destruction.

“OEMs in Germany are looking for a diversified, resilient and fully environmental and social governance-compliant rare earth magnet supply chain by 2025.”

Caroline Messecar from Argus Media commented “To industry observers that is a startling deadline. But it is also no less startling than some of the government commitments around the world on phasing out the use of internal combustion engine vehicles.”

Rare earth prices soared to unmanageably high levels in 2010-11, when China temporarily restricted exports following a dispute with Japan. Buyers around the world panicked and there was a big push to cut back consumption and design away from rare earths.

CITIC Securities has raised it’s forecast for NdPr oxide to 800,000 yuan (US125,000)/tonne in 2021 and have predicted that this may be the start of a long bull run for rare earth prices.

David Merriman from Roskill believes that monazite-derived rare earth production presents an opportunity for supply growth in the future, not only because there are potentially significant sources of material globally, but also as monazite typically offers attractive Nd-Pr and heavy rare earths contents compared to other major rare earth minerals.

Pensana plc (LON:PRE) explores and mines neodymium, praseodymium, and rare earth minerals. The company is looking to establish the world’s first fully sustainable magnet metal rare earth oxide producer at the Saltend Chemicals Park in the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership Yorkshire, UK.

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