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News of rare earths

News to update the article series "Rare earths and automation technology".

China reducing rare earth exports in the second half of 2018

October 26th, 2018 - For the second half of 2018 the Chinese government reduced the rare earth production quota by 36% to 45,000 tonnes, as reported by Reuters news agency on 14 October.

This quota is the lowest for more than five years and it just covers domestic demand. This production cutback was preceded by an increase in production to 70,000 tonnes in the first half of 2018, an increase by 40% compared to the first half of 2017.  

In 2012, the US, the European Union and Japan accused China at the WTO of restricting rare earths exports in order to keep prices low for its own use and attract foreign consumers to China. After the WTO had upheld this claim, China increased exports again.   Approximately 80% of the world's demand for rare earths comes from the People's Republic of China.  

As Reuters quotes, analysts see the current export restriction as a sign that illegal mines for the production of rare earths are being closed. Apparently the time is right for this, as prices for rare earths in China have fallen by 24% year-on-year to e.g. $58,400 per ton of PrNd oxides.  

(All data according to Reuters)

Molycorp, last mining company for rare earths in the US, filing for bankruptcy

June 26th, 2015 - The mining company Molycorp, USA, sought bankruptcy protection. The debt are about $1.7bn as FAZ reported on June, 26th, 2015. The affidavit by Mr Bedford, chief executive, outlines according to "Worldwide supply of rare earth materials has increased, including due to the resumption of operations at Mountain Pass". This caused falling prices leading to losses and mounting debt. Molycorp is planning to restructuring the company's debt and will remain in business.

Prices for Neodym in 2014

Juni, 3rd, 2014 - Neodym (Nd) is crucial for permanent-field synchronmotors that cannot be substituted yet. Prices in 2014 are showing a slightly decreasing tendency by now.

Proces of Neodym in May 2014.

Prices of rare earths from China 2013 lower than 2012

Update March 10th, 2014 - 2013 rare earths' prices were lower with one exception than in 2012 as the table from the Australian Lynas Corp. shows. (Lynas Corporation from 10.03.2014)

Prices for rare earths in April 2013.
Annual average prices for 99% purity of elements, FOB China Prices. Source: Lynas Corporation,

Rare earths: New processing plant in Malaysia

September 6th, 2012 - In Malaysia, near coastal town of Kuantan, for the first time a processing plant for rare earths is to operate after the governement has given green light.


The plant was built up with A$750m by the Australian company Lynas Corporation. Lynas extracts rare earths from the world-wide largest deposit in Australia and is going to ship rare earths for processing to Malaysia. There earnings are expected to be equivalent to 1 per cent of Malaysia's GDP. 


The processing of rare earths is very polluting due to remainder of acids and radioactive materials. Malaysia's opposition is worried about the environmental burden. (Financial Times from 05.09.2012)


This news underlines the efforts to decuple the extraction of rare earths outside of China.

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