RARE EARTHS 101
THE BASicS, EconomicS, Supply cHAin
RARE EARTH BASicS
Other Rare Metals Light Rare Earths Heavy Rare Earths
The rare earth elements are the 15 lanthanides: lanthanum (La - #57) through to lutetium
(Lu - #71), plus yttrium (Y - #39)
REE are grouped as light rare earth elements (LREE) or heavy rare earth elements (HREE). While
they are not particularly “rare” in the earth’s crust, they are generally not concentrated in
commercially viable ore deposits.
LREE (Light rare earth elements)
*Those in bold have been identified as “critical” rare earth elements by the U.S. Department of Energy
c omm o n pRo pE R T i ES o F R A RE E ART H S
Silver, silvery-white, or gray
High luster, but tarnish in air
High electrical conductivity
Occur together in minerals
Many fluoresce strongly under UV
High melting and boiling points
Catalytic, chemical, electrical, metallurgical,
nuclear, magnetic and optical properties
Most REE compounds are strongly
HREE (Heavy rare earth elements)
RARE EARTH EconomicS
China continues to dominate the rare earths market in both production and consumption. It is forecasted
that in the next five to ten years, China may become an importer of heavy rare earths. China will
continue to maximize value added supply chain within China, consolidate rare earth producers to
improve environmental practices, limit exports of rare earths, and start to stockpile.
2008 2010 2011 2013 2020 Forecast
global demand 124,000 123,000 110,000 120,000-130,000 200,000-240,000
Total value $1.25-2 billion $2.5-3 billion $10-15 billion $3-5 billion Not available
USD $/kg $15-20/kg $30-40/kg $140-180/kg $40-60/kg $40-60/kg
Tonnes rare 125,000 109,000 98,000 90,000-100,000 Not available
% of global 97% 95% 94% 80-85% Not available
Rare Earth oxide demand
at 150,000-170,000 tonnes
at 180,000-210,000 tonnes
Cerium 70,000 80,000
Neodymium 25,000-30,000 30,000-35,000
Europium 350-400 400-450
Dysprosium 800-850 1,000
Terbium 450-500 250-300
Yttrium 9,000-10,000 7,000-8,000
Source: IMCOA June 2013
Forecast Supply and demand for
individual Rare Earths in 2016
Source: IMCOA June 2013
The Rare Earths market 2008-2013
GLOBAL MARKET VALUE
Tonnes rare 68,000 74,000 75,000 80,000-85,000 Not available
% of global 55% 60% 68% 66% Not available
of rare earths
out of China
trying to set prices
Supply in 2020
to be 240,000-
REO with the
heavy rare earths
still a concern
RARE EARTHS liFEcyclE
is a place to explore advances in rare metal
material science and applications.
From smart phones to hybrid cards, wind
generators to medical technologies...
rare metals certainly do matter!
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Rare earth elements are key components
for modern green and clean technologies.
Avalon prides itself on being a company
wholly committed to the principles of
sustainable development and is devoted to
ensuring that economic extraction of the rare
earths are done in a safe, environmentally
and socially responsible manner.
Avalon has committed itself to reporting on
and measuring sustainability in the framework
of the Global Reporting Initiative (the “GRI”),
Version G3.1. Avalon also reports on performance
indicators from the Mining Association of
Canada’s ‘Toward Sustainable Mining’
principles and guidelines.
Avalon’s 2013 Sustainability Report entitled
ALIGN. OPTIMIZE. INNOVATE., can be found
online at www.avalonraremetals.com.
RARE EARTH ApplicATionS
Rare earth elements (REE) are non-toxic elements essential to a cleaner environment and
reduced reliance on fossil fuels. They are the key ingredients in today’s modern electronic,
green and health technologies. World demand for REE in 2013 is estimated at 120,000
tonnes and growing with the demand for these higher value applications.
Source: Roskill Estimates, Nov. 2012
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Global demand for REE
by End-use in 2012
RARE EARTH ApplicATionS
One of the most important applications of REE
is high strength permanent neodymium
magnets (NdFeB) or “neo-magnets”. They are
essential to many consumer products such as
microphones, loudspeakers, headphones and
computer hard drives. Higher value products
that use large amounts of neo-magnets include
hybrid and electric vehicles, industrial motors,
air conditioners, electronic bicycles and wind
and tidal turbine generators. Demand for
neo-magnets is estimated to grow by 6-8% per
year to 2016.
Another very important application of REE,
particularly yttrium, terbium and erbium, are
light emitting diodes, or better known as LED’s.
The global LED market is estimated to be
U$94 billion by 2020, representing approximately
60% of the total lighting market. The compound
annual growth rate between 2010 and 2016 is
estimated at 35%. (Source: LED Magazine)
Color monitors for computers, consumer
electronics and televisions are dependent on
REE phosphors for the colours red (europium),
blue (europium) and green (terbium). Glass
monitors, and other glass applications such as
cameras, also require cerium oxide as a polishing
The use of REE in medical applications is
increasing due to new drug treatments,
diagnostic techniques and medical equipment.
Another main use of REE i s catalys t s ,
specifically fluid cracking catalysts used in the
refining of crude oil.