Rare earth industry develops outside of China

February 8, 2011

China’s recent reduction in its 2011 export quota of rare earth minerals has caused great concern in many manufacturing industries around the world. China currently provides around 97% of the world’s supply of these minerals and recent reports state that the government will reduce exports by up to 35% in the first half of 2011.


A detailed overview of powder metallurgy

permanent magnets and their applications

is available from ipmd.net

Rare earth minerals are used in many applications, from smart phones to wind turbines, with around 26% (35,000 t) used in the production of magnets. The use of neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) permanent magnets, produced via the powder metallurgy (PM) process, has seen spectacular growth since the technology was developed in the early 1980’s. NdFeB magnets can also be produced via the powder injection moulding (PIM) route, allowing for small, complex shapes to be produced.

In an attempt to decrease the global reliance on China, both America and Australia plan to begin mining deposits of rare earth minerals. 

In the USA, Molycorp has announced an expansion plan that is expected to provide an annual rate of up to approximately 40,000 metric tons of rare earth oxide (REO) equivalent per year at its Mountain Pass facility by the end of 2013. In Australia, Arafura Resources Ltd state that annual production of 20,000 tonnes of rare earth oxides from the Whyalla Rare Earths Complex, equivalent to about 10% of the world’s supply, is on schedule to commence in 2013. Also in Australia, Lynas Corporation estimates the capacity of its Mount Weld mine will be 22,000 tonnes per year by 2014.

Molycorp and Hitachi to join forces manufacturing rare earth magnets in the USA

Hitachi Metals, Ltd. based in Japan and Molycorp announced in late 2010 that they have entered into an agreement regarding the planned formation of joint ventures for the production of rare earth alloys and magnets in the USA. The ventures are to be focused on the manufacture of neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) alloys and magnets.

“As the world’s top manufacturer of NdFeB magnets, we are well positioned to satisfy the growing demand from global customers for these rare earth magnets, and to contribute to an energy efficient society,” stated Nobuhiko Shima, President of NEOMAX Company of Hitachi Metals, Ltd.

Signing of definitive agreements, subject to the satisfactory conclusion of the feasibility study and other conditions, for the joint venture to produce rare earth magnets will take place in late 2011.

“We look forward to launching these joint ventures for production in the USA together with Molycorp, which has long experience and deep expertise in the rare earth industry,” added Shima.

“These joint ventures are an integral part of Molycorp’s ‘mine-to-magnets’ business plan, and they move our Company and the United States one step closer to realising the strategic goal of re-establishing a complete rare earth manufacturing supply chain in the USA” stated Mark Smith, Molycorp’s Chief Executive Officer.


Also from Inovar Communications:

Injection moulding opens up opportunities for high performance NdFeB magnets

Magnetic properties of alnico 8 sintered magnets produced by powder injection moulding

The processing of advanced magnetic components by PIM: current status and future opportunities


News | Articles | Market reviews | Search directory | Subscribe to e-newsletter



Pulished on www.ipmd.net

News, articles and a fully searchable directory for the powder metallurgy industry

Latest Industry News

Download the latest issue of PM Review

Our latest issue is now available to download in PDF format, free of charge.

As well as an extensive Powder Metallurgy industry news section, this 124-page issue includes the following exclusive articles and reports:

  • PowderMet2021: A cautious return to normality for North America’s PM industry
  • A ‘hidden champion’ of PM: Celebrating a century of innovation and success at Plansee
  • An industry old-timer’s view on the question of vehicle electrification, misleading messaging and the status of PM
  • Diversity, sustainability, efficiency: How two of Japan’s Powder Metallurgy SMEs are thriving in a challenging landscape
  • Designing AC motors for the electric vehicle revolution? Forget laminations, think Soft Magnetic Composites
  • A route to the sustainable production of battery materials with 6K’s plasma technology
  • More information

Industry News


Sign up to our free e-newsletter, sent weekly to industry professionals around the world. We'll also let you know each time a new issue of PM Review magazine is available.

Subscribe for a FREE digital magazine

PM Review is the leading international magazine for the Powder Metallurgy industry.
Published four times a year, it is available as a free download or through a print subscription

Connect with us

Powder Metallurgy: The original net-shape production process

Powder Metallurgy components are relied upon by a wide variety of manufacturing industries, from automotive to power tools, household appliances, chemical engineering, filtration and more.

The main reason for the technology’s success is its cost-effectiveness at producing high volumes of net-shape components, combined with its ability to allow the manufacture of products that, because of the production processes, simply cannot be manufactured by other methods.

To discover more about how the technology has revolutionised component production, browse our Introduction to Powder Metallurgy.

Latest industry news

Copy link