Cerium is a lanthanide and the most abundant of the rare earth elements. It is used in catalytic converters, as well as in optics for precision polishing. Cerium is found in the minerals monazite and bastnasite.
Cerium is a ductile and malleable light rare earth element (LREE) with atomic number 58. It is used in nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries found in most hybrid and electric vehicles and in phosphor powders in linear fluorescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Other applications including polishing compounds, catalysts, fuel additives, glass and enamel additives, permanent magnets. It has an emerging use in nano technologies, but is not likely to be commercialized until at least the medium term.
Demand is expected to increase in the short term with demand for phosphors and hybrid vehicles. Demand growth may decrease in the medium term as lithium-ion (Li-ion) technology improves and Li-ion batteries supplant NiMH in hybrids. Despite the falling market share in the medium term, the overall market for NiMH may continue to rise as the number of hybrids manufactured each year increases.
There is limited substitutability for cerium within phosphors and NiMH batteries. Li-ion batteries are projected to gain market share; could make up the majority of the HEV battery market by 2020. Light emitting diodes (LED) use little or no REEs; could replace fluorescent light bulbs. LEDs for room lighting are not expected to be cost competitive until the medium term.
New cerium supply sources from outside China are projected to meet future demand growth. Cerium is likely to be in surplus both in the short and the medium term with adequate supply. Future supply growth hinges on new mining projects; because cerium is the most abundant REE it will be produced by all new mines. Current production is centered in China, which has significant REE export quotas and tariffs. New mines in Australia, Canada and the United States will increase supply, but are subject to strict permitting and environmental regulations. China is currently the dominant producer, but all new non-Chinese mines will produce significant amounts of cerium, increasing diversity more than for most other rare earth elements.
Cerium Producers Molycorp - http://www.molycorp.com/products/cerium.html - Molycorp is a mining and marketing subsidiary of Chevron (NYSE: CVX) that produces cerium, in addition to molybdenum and other rare earth elements.
Commerce Resources Corp. (CVE: CCE)
Great Western Minerals Group (CVE: GWG)
Metall Rare Earth Limited - http://www.metall.com.cn/ce.htm American Elements - http://www.americanelements.com/ce.html - Cerium metal, cerium oxide, cerium acetate, cerium carbonate, cerium hydrate, cerium nitrate, cerium ammonium nitrate, cerium chloride, cerium fluoride, cerium 55 concentrate, cerium bromide, cerium oxalate, and cerium sulfate.
Avalon Rare Metals (TSE: AVL)
(wiki) - Cerium on Wikipedia
Cerium News 2011-07-13 - (im) - Cerium oxide supply under strain prior to export quota release
2011-04-27 - (po) - 2D beats 3D: Ceria in platelet form stores more oxygen than nanocrystalline form
2010-10-21 - (csm) - Top 5 'rare earth' minerals: What are they?
2010-08-03 - (im) - Cerium oxide prices soar
2010-02-01 - (ta) - More rare earths, more gold, less gas