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Rare Earth Metals Reduction from Oxides


Rare earth metals or rare earth elements got their name not because they are rare in the earth’s crust, but because they are rarely found in volumes and quantities sufficient for economic extraction. These elements may be as common in the earth’s crust as nickel, zinc, chromium, and lead.


The market for rare earth metals (REM) is one of the youngest commodity markets in the world and is growing at an impressive pace compared to other base metals: over 50 years, the volume of world production and consumption of REM has increased from 5 to 200 thousand tons per year.

Last year Creative Engineers (CEI) participated in the 18th International Rare Earths Conference in Las Vegas. Although a lot of attention was drawn to mining and rare earth oxides production outside of China, there was very little discussion on REM manufacturing in the US.

Thus, China accounts for more than 80% of the world’s production of rare ores. In addition, this country controls 97% of the production of REM oxides, 89% of their alloys, and 75% of permanent magnets. There is evidence that China is also seeking to dominate other rare earth industries.

There is great potential in the US to create a complete production chain. But it should be understood that such a “window of opportunity” will not be long—it is necessary to take active steps now.

CEI is energetically working on oxide to metal reduction in a collaboration with one of the leading experts in mining and metal production in the US.

CEI is experienced in running high-level research starting from bench scale and aiming for full-scale operation of NdPr production.


 

Written by Diana Aksenova

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