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Japan's search for alternative rare earth supply

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Presented by Yasushi Watanabe …

Presented by Yasushi Watanabe
Institute for Geo-Resources and Environment, AIST
6th International Rare Earths Conference@ 9-11 November 2010,
Hong Kong, China

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  • 1. Japan’s search for alternative rare earths supply Yasushi Watanabe Institute for Geo-Resources and Environment, AIST y-watanabe@aist.go.jp 6th International Rare Earths Conference@ 9-11 November 2010, Hong Kong, China
  • 2. Contents • Rare earth supply and applications of Japan • Sourcing challenges • Japanese perspective
  • 3. Metal consumption of Japan
  • 4. Rare earths exported from China 2006 2007 2008 2009 09/08 Amount (t) 65,907 54,421 54,959 43,918 -20% to Japan 28,344 28,144 28,423 14,933 -47% share 43% 52% 52% 34% Amount (M$) 477.039 763.781 686.771 310.089 -55% to Japan 315.047 538.590 456.993 141.281 -69% share 66% 71% 67% 46% Industrial Rare Metals (2010), based on the report by China and the West The Maritime Customs Service
  • 5. Rare earths (including chlorides) imported to Japan 2006 2007 2008 2009 Share (%) China (t) 36072 36813 31451 16018 83 (M) 37637 63981 51060 14507 67 France (t) 2079 1245 1712 1373 7.1 (M) 1675 2086 2480 944 4.3 USA (t) 177 273 131 275 1.4 (M) 1029 631 240 251 1.2 CIS+Estonia (t) 2249 1736 1220 609 3.2 (M) 739 883 985 769 3.5 India (t) 760 541 (M) 87 97 Total (t) 41955 40564 35327 19290 100 (M) 43096 69938 58505 21743 100 Industrial Rare Metals (2010)
  • 6. JOGMEC website
  • 7. Rare earth availability in Japan • Decreased export quotas by China • Practical stop of rare earth import from China in late September.
  • 8. Strategy for stable supply of rare earths • Development of new supply sources outside China • Recycle – Not recycled from the final products yet – Started projects of REE recycling from magnets, NiH battery, phosphor, etc. with the financial support by the government. • Reduction • Substitution
  • 9. REE projects in the world More than 100 REE exploration projects are on-going
  • 10. Sourcing challenges • Joint enterprises in China – Showa Denko, Hitachi, Santoku • Development of resources outside China – Dong Pao (Vietnam), Tailing of uranium deposits (Kazakhstan) • Investment for the REE projects – Pitinga (Brazil), Indian placer (India) • Grass-root exploration by JOGMEC – Ytterby (Canada), Benson (USA), Laocai (Vietnam), Mabel Creek (Australia), etc.
  • 11. REE projects that include Japanese companies Name Country REE Company Plan Planned production Orissa India Th, LREE Toyota Corp. 2012 production 4500t Dong Vietnam LREE Vinacomin, Toyota 2012 production 7000t Corp, Sojitu Pao Ulba Kazakhstan HREE Kazatomprom, 2011 production? 3000t Sumitomo Corp Pitinga Brazil HREE Neo Material Technology, Mitsubishi Corp. Joint exploration projects by JOGMEC Country Project Partner Start Term Interest (year) (%) REE Australia Roxby Downs Minotaur Exploration, etc. 2007.09 3 51 REE Vietnam Laocai Vietnam Gov. 2007.10 3 REE Australia Mabel Creek Minotaur Exploration 2008.07 3 51 REE USA Benson Gold Canyon 2009.09 1 80 REE Canada Ytterby Midland Exploration 2010.02 3 50
  • 12. Dong Pao project in Vietnam • 2000-2001 Explored by MMAJ (JOGMEC) and Vimico • Reserves: 7.4Mt@5.22% REO (3% cutoff) in No.3 orebody • 2009 Toyota Corp, Sojitu, Vinacomin agreed joint development • Ore minerals: bastnasite, synchysite, monazite (minor) Fujii et al. (2010)
  • 13. F3 orebody at Don Pao B: laterite ore (Ba >50% Ce, Bc <50% Ce) A: Saprolitic ore Fujii et al. (2010)
  • 14. A rare earth composition at Dong Pao MJVD7-54 (ppm) MJVD7-54 (%) La 28,500 33.7 Ce 41,200 48.7 Pr 3,040 3.59 Nd 9,580 11.3 Sm 909 1.07 Eu 200 0.24 Gd 454 0.54 Tb 48.8 0.06 Dy 102.5 0.12 Ho 17.1 0.02 Er 73.7 0.09 Tm 3.7 0.00 Yb 18.1 0.02 Lu 1.8 0.00 Y 469 0.55 Total (REO) 10.16% 100.00 LREE 10.02% 98.6 HREE 0.14% 1.4 JICA & MMAJ (2003) Fujii et al. (2010)
  • 15. Development plan of Dong Pao deposit • Target: high grade saprolitic ore (a half of REE) Fujii et al. (2010)
  • 16. Material flow chain Rare Metal News No. 2378 (2008)
  • 17. Reduction • Dy-saving NdFeB magnet project (2007-2012) – Enhancement of residual flux density (Br) & coercive force (Hc) by formation of Br: degree of magnetic force Dy-rich thin shell (20% Dy Hc: heat resistance reduction) and grain-size reduction (30% Dy reduction) – Possibility to reduce 50% Dy in NdFeB magnet Grain Boundary Diffusion Alloying by Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. Ltd. (Minowa, 2009)
  • 18. REE concentration in stratabound Mn ores Ferromanganese ore Manganese ore Element Content (average) • wakefieldite-(Nd) : NdVO4 Fe2O3 37.19 % 2.93 % • Occur with hematite and MnO 29.08 % 50.11 % caryopilite ΣREE 1816 ppm 60 ppm (Mn,Mg)3Si3O5(OH)4 Pr 97 ppm 2 ppm Nd 392 ppm 9 ppm Sm 88 ppm 2 ppm Tb 15 ppm 0.4 ppm Dy 80 ppm 2 ppm Th 13 ppm 1.6 ppm U 3 ppm 3 ppm
  • 19. Future perspective Feng & Yao (2009) Indium Rare earths 2013: 40,000t, 2015: 48,000t
  • 20. Summary • Japan has consumed about 1/4-1/5 of rare earths annually produced in the world. • Rare earths have used for polishing materials, magnet materials, LaNiH batteries, catalysts, glass, etc. Automobile industry is a major end user of rare earths in Japan. • Japanese government and private sectors look for rare earth sources outside China because of the significant decrease of export quotas and unstable export by China. • A few projects (Vietnam, India, Kazakhstan) plan to produce rare earths within a couple of years, which may supply the amount more than half of the Japanese consumption, coupled with the supply from the Lynas Mount Weld and Molycorp Mountain Pass projects. • Reduction of Dy used in FeNdB magnet will be enhanced. Timely, compact, inexpensive projects for HREE are desired.