Global production of rare earth elements (REE) will continue to grow in years to come, as the pandemic and its negative consequences have not led to a sharp decline of the demand for them, according to recent statements, made by representatives of some leading global REE producers and analysts in the field of mining.
According to analysts’ predictions, China will continue to account for the bulk of production, with the Bayan'obo Mining District, a mining town in the west of Inner Mongolia will remain a center of REE production in the country.
It is planned, in addition to China, the volume of production will continue to grow in other major REE-producing regions, among which are the US (the annual production in which currently estimates at 26,000 tons per year), Myanmar (22,000 tons), Australia (21,000 tons). There is also a pool of smaller producers, including Russia and India, which produced less than 3000 tons in 2019 and where the production will also continue to grow this year.
However, the level of production is not always related with the volume of reserves. For example, in the case of Brazil and Vietnam both countries have REE reserves for 22 million tons each, although their annual output does not exceed 1000 tons per year. The largest reserves are concentrated in China - 44 million tons, in Russia (12 million tonnes) and India (6.9 million tonnes). In addition, the reserves of Greenland and Australia are also estimated at millions of tons.
In 2019, the overall value of global REE market reached US$13.2 billion. The results for 2020 have not yet been published, although with the annual growth rates of 11% the market is expected to grow to US$19.8 billion already by 2026.
By: Eugen Gerden