Rare Earths: Worldwide Markets, Applications, Technologies
The global market for rare earths increased from 111.5 thousand metric tons of equivalent rare earth oxides (REO) in 2009 to 141.3 thousand metric tons in 2010, and is estimated to reach 158.2 thousand metric tons by the end of 2011. Consequently, the total market for rare earths is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 10.3% through 2016, leading to the consumption of nearly 258 billion tons of REO in 2016.
This study provides an updated review of rare earth materials, sources, pricing, and production processes, and identifies current and emerging applications for these materials.
BCC Research determines the current market status of rare earths, defines trends, and presents growth forecasts over the next 5 years. Supply and sourcing issues, including the latest developments, are also discussed.
BCC Research analyzes the rare earth industry on a worldwide basis from the standpoint of both manufacturing and consumption, and provides profiles of leading industry players.
A detailed U.S. patent analysis provides further insight regarding market and technological developments.
More specifically, BCC’s market analysis is divided into seven parts.
In the first part, a historical review of rare earths is provided, including an outline of recent events. In this section, current and emerging applications for these materials are also identified and divided by sector (e.g., metallurgical/mechanical, chemical, energy, and electronics).
In the second part, the latest process developments and improvements related to rare earth production are outlined, followed by a summary of global production by country.
The third part of the report provides a detailed analysis of the geographical distribution of rare earth sources, discussing the major rare earth mining activities in each country, including supplying an updated assessment of world reserves, a status report on the most important mining projects, and global production forecasts.
Past, present and future price trends are presented and discussed in the fourth section.
The fifth part of the report entails a global market analysis of rare earths. Global consumption of rare earths (in metric tons) are presented by industry/application and by element, with actual data referring to the years 2009 and 2010, and estimated data for 2011. Global rare earth revenues (data in millions of dollars) by industry are also provided.
This section also offers a presentation of market growth trends based on industry growth and technological trends. Projected consumption for rare earths is reported with forecast CAGRs (compound annual growth rates) for the period 2011 through 2016. For permanent magnets, the market numbers include production data for both sintered and bonded Neo magnets.
In the sixth part, covering global industry structure, the report provides a complete list of rare earth suppliers with a description of their products. The analysis includes a description of the geographical distribution of these firms and an evaluation of production versus consumption for rare earths, always from a geographical standpoint. Detailed company profiles of the top industry players are also provided.
The seventh and final section includes an extensive analysis of U.S. patents, with a summary of patents related to rare earth materials, processes, and applications, issued during the period 2009 through 2011. Patent analysis is performed by region, country, assignee, patent category, application, and material type.
Margareth Gagliardi, Chief Research Analyst in Advanced Materials for BCC Research, has more than 30 years of experience in the field of advanced materials, specializing in ceramic formulations, materials processing, and new product development. After receiving her degrees in Chemical and Ceramic Engineering, she worked in both manufacturing and R&D holding senior management positions within U.S. and European firms producing electronic, mechanical, chemical, and structural components.
She is currently focusing on market intelligence and advanced technologies analysis for organizations and research institutions that operate within a range of high-tech industries.
- The global market for rare earths consumed 126,682 metric tons of materials in 2008 and an estimated 113,610 metric tons in 2009. This is expected to increase to 175,618 metric tons in 2014, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.1%.
- Mechanical and metallurgical applications have the largest share of the market and used 42,765 metric tons of materials in 2008. This is expected to decrease to 36,770 metric tons in 2009 and increase to 56,410 metric tons in 2014, for a CAGR of 8.9%.
- Glass and ceramics applications have the second-largest market share, and used 34,730 metric tons in 2008 and an estimated 32,500 metric tons in 2009. This is expected to increase at a CAGR of 8.5% to reach 48,890 metric tons in 2014.
Global consumption of rare earth materials was more than 87,000 metric tons in 2004 and 96,000 metric tons in 2005. At an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 10.1%, consumption of these materials should cross well over 155,000 metric tons.
Glass and ceramic materials held the highest share of the market in 2004, approximately 18.5%. Permanent magnets overtook this place in 2005 with almost 19% of the total market. This sector will maintain this position through the forecast period, crossing 32,000 metric tons in 2010 at an AAGR of 12.2%.
NiMH batteries held the highest AAGR with 30.5%, reaching over 27,000 metric tons in 2010. The second-highest growth rate through the forecast period was phosphors at 13.4%.
Total worldwide production of rare earths will reach 91,325 million tonnes in 2007.
Asia, excluding Japan, will have the fastest average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 4.8%.
Future strong growth for rare earths will be for rechargeable batteries, medical applications, sensors and dental/surgical lasers.
Magnetic refrigeration also will emerge as a commercial market.
In terms of market value, the leading rare earth end use is for high power permanent magnets. In 1999, $1.2 billion worth of rare earth-containing magnets will be sold. These magnets included 25,300 tons of rare earth materials (based on rare earth oxide content). Under an optimistic market scenario, this could grow to more than $2 billion over the next 10 years.
In terms of tonnage, the leading rare earth application is for catalysts, including gasoline cracking catalysts and air pollution abatement catalysts. In 1999, this represents a 30,000-ton market. This market is stable, and little growth is likely.
The fastest-growing market could be for rare earth-containing room temperature superconductors. From a commercial market of essentially zero, the rare earth-containing superconductor market in 1999 should be on the order of $25 million. Over the next 5 years, under an optimistic scenario, this could grow to a $200 million market. By 2009, $0.5 billion worth of rare earth-containing superconductors could be sold. In terms of tonnage, this could mean a 200-ton market within the 10-year scope of this report.