Global Rare Earth Metals Market: Snapshot
Rare earth metals are a group of elements consisting of the fifteen lanthanide series elements in addition to scandium and yttrium. These elements are often found in nature along with each other. While not being rare as such, they are widely dispersed across the earth and can be hard to separate. These metals display a similar set of properties and are utilized in a variety of application avenues in the electrical and electronics sector. Digital memory devices, smartphones and other cellphones, fluorescent lighting, catalytic converters used in automotive exhaust systems, and rechargeable batteries are among the key application segments of the global rare earth metals market.
The global rare earth metals market is divided into heavy earth metals and light earth metals on the basis of product type. Cerium, which is a light rare earth metal, is the most widely used rare earth metal. Lanthanum and neodymium, two of the other leading product segments of the global rare earth metals market, are also light rare earth metals. Neodymium is also among the highest revenue generators in the global rare earth metals market; scandium is the leader in the global rare earth metals market in this regard.
Booming Electronics Sector to Drive Global Rare Earth Metals Market
The prime driver for the global rare earth metals market is the steady growth of the electronics industry and the rising use of electronic equipment in a variety of end use applications. The electronics industry has flourished in recent years thanks to the growing disposable income of consumers in an increasing number of regions and the consequent rise in the demand for premium consumer goods. The use of rare earth metals in the production of magnets is thus also crucial in ensuring steady revenue generation from the electronics sector. Due to the convenience provided by electronic and automated equipment, the electronics sector now has a presence in almost every sector. This is likely to enable steady demand from the global rare earth metals market in the coming years.
The automotive industry has a multifaceted role to play in the future development of the global rare earth metals market. The rising purchasing power of consumers in important prospective automotive markets has led to rising incorporation of electronic elements in automotive design, which is likely to remain a popular trend in the coming years. The demand for automotive electronics for the purpose of entertainment, security, and several other aspects is likely to rise steadily in the coming years, leading to rising demand from the global rare earth metals market.
The steady support for the development of electric vehicles from within the automotive industry also bodes well for the global rare earth metals market. The environmentally oriented regulatory framework in several countries is also conducive for the growth of the electric vehicles market, leading to strong growth prospects for the global rare earth metals market. Metalworking and glass are also likely to remain important sectors for the global rare earth metals market in the coming years.
Concentration of Rare Earth Ores to Ensure Steady Dominance of China
Geographically, the global rare earth metals market is led by China, as it is home to the largest deposits of rare earth metals. Other leading producers of rare earth metals include Australia, India, Russia, and the U.S., indicating the likely dominance of Asia Pacific in the global rare earth metals market in the coming years. The booming automotive and consumer electronics industries in China are likely to be vital for the global rare earth metals market in the coming years.
Key companies in the global rare earth metals market include Great Western Minerals Group, Rare Elements Resources Ltd., Arafura Resources, China Rare Earth Holdings, Molycorp, Alkane Resources, Avalon Rare Metals, and Indian Rare Earths.
China’s influence over the global rare earth metals market is unlikely to weaken through 2018 as the country boasts the highest reserves of rare earth metals. Although countries such as Russia, India, Australia, and the United States also have substantial reserves of rare earth metals, China leads by a wide margin. This will cause an appreciable portion of all commercial and trading activity in the rare earth metals market to be concentrated in China, states Transparency Market Research (TMR). This projection is substantiated by the estimate that China singlehandedly accounts for over 95% of all rare earth metals produced globally.
Besides the important regional dynamics, this report also studies the most valuable product segments in the global rare earth metals market. For this purpose, metals such as cerium, neodymium, lanthanum, yttrium, and praseodymium are studied in the report. Moreover, the report also studies the top application areas of rare earth metals. The key applications analyzed in the report are magnets and metallurgy.
In order to provide a clear overview of the competitive scenario and how it is expected to shape up through the forecast period of the report, the study profiles the leading companies in the rare earth metals market.
Rare Earth Metals Market: Opportunities and Restraints
The niche but high-value applications of rare earth metals will the opportunity in this market reach US$8.1 bn by 2018. The demand for rare earth metals is especially high in the permanent magnet industry. In China, the country that is also the largest producer of rare earth metals, the domestic consumption is the highest in the world. This is yet another demand driver for rare earth metals market. At the same time, a steady increase in the demand for and applications of rare earth metal catalysts has been reported in recent years. The demand for cerium is projected to remain the highest through the forecast period of the report.
Revenue generation in the rare earth metals market will receive a further boost from the increasing interest in resource recovery and recycling. Unmined reserves are projected to be exploited in the next few years, which will pump more rare earth metals into the market, ultimately leading to an increase in the global revenues. However, the impact of this driver could be dampened to some degree by the capital-intensive processes involved in the extraction of rare earth metals. Demand for rare earth metals could also be eroded by the advent of nanocomposites.
Rare Earth Metals Market: Competitive Landscape
Many of the leading companies in the global rare earth metals market are located in China. Some of the companies studied in this report are Arafura Resources, Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare Earth Hi-Tech Co, Great Western Minerals Group, Alkane Resources, Greenland Rare Earth and Energy Ltd, Indian Rare Earths, China Rare Earth Holdings, and Molycorp.