Investing in Lanthanoids

Lanthanoids, also known as lanthanoids or rare earth elements, are a group of 15 elements.


Domestic Production and Use: In 2009, rare earths were not mined in the United States; however, rare-earth concentrates previously produced at Mountain Pass, CA, were processed into lanthanum concentrate and didymium (75% neodymium, 25% praseodymium) products. Rare-earth concentrates, intermediate compounds, and individual oxides were available from stocks. The United States continued to be a major consumer, exporter, and importer of rare-earth products in 2009. The estimated value of refined rare earths imported by the United States in 2009 was $84 million, a decrease from $186 million imported in 2008. Based on final 2008 reported data, the estimated 2008 distribution of rare earths by end use, in decreasing order, was as follows: metallurgical applications and alloys, 29%; electronics, 18%; chemical catalysts, 14%; rare-earth phosphors for computer monitors, lighting, radar, televisions, and x-ray-intensifying film, 12%; automotive catalytic converters, 9%; glass polishing and ceramics, 6%; permanent magnets, 5%; petroleum refining catalysts, 4%; and other, 3%.

Recycling: Small quantities, mostly permanent magnet scrap.

Import Sources (2005-08): Rare-earth metals, compounds, etc.: China, 91%; France, 3%; Japan, 3%; Russia, 1%; and other, 2%.

Events, Trends, and Issues: Domestic consumption of rare earths in 2009 decreased substantially, based on apparent consumption (derived from 8 months of trade data). Only one of seven rare-earth import categories increased when compared with those of 2008—the category “mixtures of REOs (except cerium oxide).” Prices were generally lower in 2009 compared with those of 2008 for most rare-earth products amid decreased consumption and a declining supply. Consumption for most rare-earth uses in the United States decreased as a consequence of the worldwide economic downturn.

The economic downturn lowered consumption of cerium compounds used in automotive catalytic converters and in glass additives and glass-polishing compounds; rare-earth chlorides used in the production of fluid-cracking catalysts used in oil refining; rare-earth compounds used in automotive catalytic converters and many other applications; rare-earth metals and their alloys used in armaments, base-metal alloys, lighter flints, permanent magnets, pyrophoric alloys, and superalloys; yttrium compounds used in color televisions and flat-panel displays, electronic thermometers, fiber optics, lasers, and oxygen sensors; and phosphors for color televisions, electronic thermometers, fluorescent lighting, pigments, superconductors, x-ray-intensifying screens, and other applications.

The trend is for a continued increase in the use of rare earths in many applications, especially automotive catalytic converters, permanent magnets, and rechargeable batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles.The rare-earth separation plant at Mountain Pass, CA, resumed operations in 2007 and continued to operate throughout 2009. Bastnäsite concentrates and other rare-earth intermediates and refined products continued to be sold from mine stocks at Mountain Pass. Exploration for rare earths continued in 2009; however, global economic conditions were not as favorable as in early 2008.

Economic assessments continued at Bear Lodge in Wyoming; Diamond Creek in Idaho; Elk Creek in Nebraska; Hoidas Lake in Saskatchewan, Canada; Nechalacho (Thor Lake) in Northwest Territories, Canada; Kangankunde in Malawi; Lemhi Pass in Idaho-Montana; Nolans Project in Northern Territory, Australia; and various other locations around the world. At the Mount Weld rare-earth deposit in Australia, the initial phase of mining of the open pit was completed in June 2008. A total of 773,000 tons of ore was mined at an average grade of 15.4% REO; however, no beneficiation plant existed to process the ore into a rare-earth concentrate. Based on the fine-grained character of the Mt. Weld ore, only 50% recovery of the REO was expected.

World Resources: Rare earths are relatively abundant in the Earth’s crust, but discovered minable concentrations are less common than for most other ores. U.S. and world resources are contained primarily in bastnäsite and monazite. Bastnäsite deposits in China and the United States constitute the largest percentage of the world’s rare-earth economic resources, while monazite deposits in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the United States constitute the second largest segment. Apatite, cheralite, eudialyte, loparite, phosphorites, rare-earth-bearing (ion adsorption) clays, secondary monazite, spent uranium solutions, and xenotime make up most of the remaining resources. Undiscovered resources are thought to be very large relative to expected demand.

Substitutes: Substitutes are available for many applications but generally are less effective.

Rare Earth Companies
Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth Hi-Tech Co (SHA: 600111) - - You have to go to Shanghai to invest in Rare-Earth Hi-Tech, the largest producer of rare earth elements in China and the first rare earth company listed in their stock exchange. They claim that their Baiyunebo Mines hold half of the rare earth in the world! They provide rare earth carbonate, praseodymium oxide, lanthanum chloride, lanthanum oxide, cerium oxide, dysprosium oxide, neodymium oxide, mix concentrate of bastnasite and monazite, lanthanum metal, neodymium metal, cerium carbonate, cerium acetate, lanthanum-rich metal ingot, mischmetal, dry cerium carbonate and other rare earth products.

Arafura Resources (ASX: ARU)
African Consolidated Resources (LON: AFCR)
AS Silmet - - One of the biggest producers of rare earth metals in Europe
Bolero Resources (CVE: BRU)
Canadian International Minerals (CVE: CIN) - Prairie Lake and Dead Horse Creek properties near Marathon, Ontario
Great Western Minerals Group (CVE: GWG)
Avalon Rare Metals (TSE: AVL)
Search Minerals (CVE: SMY)
Greenlight Resources (CVE: GR)
Lynas Corp (ASX: LYC, OTC: LYSCF) - Mt. Weld rare earth deposit in Australia
Molycorp (NYSE: MCP)
Namibia Rare Earths (CVE: NRE) - Lofdal Rare Earth Project in northwestern Namibia
Quantum Rare Earth Developments Corp (CVE: QRE) - Jungle Well and Laverton Projects in Western Australia
Quest Rare Minerals (CVE: QRM)
Red Rock Resources (LON: RRR)
Rare Element Resources (AMEX: REE)
Solace Resources (CVE: SOR) - Blachford Rare Earth Element Proerty in Northwest Territories
Stans Energy (CVE: RUU) - uranium, molybdenum, vanadium, beryllium, lithium and rare earth metals in the Kyrgyz Republic
Tasman Metals (CVE: TSM)
Thor Mining (ASX: THR)

China Rare Earth Society -
Rare Earth Industry Technology Association -

Lanthanoid News
2011-06-17 - (mw) - From mine to magnet: Rare earths A to Z
2011-06-17 - (mw) - Chinese officials predict excess global rare earth supplies in 5 years
2011-06-16 - (bl) - Rare earth prices double on China controls
2011-06-16 - (mw) - Heavy rare earths prices double in two weeks
2011-06-13 - (ta) - Rare earths sector posts huge gains amid pain
2011-06-07 - (mw) - Rare Earth Metals secures highly prospective new rare earth prospect in Sudbury Area, Ontario and commences Coldwell airborne survey in Marathon Area, Ontario
2011-06-06 - (mw) - Ucore acquires new strategic rare earth properties in Alaska
2011-06-01 - (th) - Moving the heaven to get some rare earth
2011-05-28 - (smh Rare earth 'gold rush' extracts a price
2011-05-20 - (pi) - Japan identifies rare earth recycling potential
2011-05-19 - (wsj) - China tightens rare-earth rules
2011-05-18 - (nw) - Namibia Rare Earths mobilizes major drilling program at Lofdal
2010-11-09 - (spie) - Transparent ceramic scintillators for gamma-ray spectroscopy and radiography
2010-11-09 - (reu) - From mine to wind turbine: the rare earth cycle
2010-11-07 - (dp) - Colorado's Molycorp plans to break China's chokehold on rare-earth metals
2010-11-04 - (mw) - Nuinsco begins drilling at Prairie Lake rare metals project
2010-11-01 - (mw) - Pancon reports rare earth heavy mineral concentrate results from Charley Creek, Northern Territory
2010-10-31 - (sa) - Digging into rare earth investments: Behind the sudden surge in popularity
2010-10-31 - (bl) - Continental AG, Bosch push EU to secure access to rare earths
2010-10-28 - (sg) - German industry warns rare earths market critical
2010-10-28 - (reu) - How rare earths are used in various industries
2010-10-27 - (pi) - Great Western Minerals to boost rare earth processing capacity by 50%
2010-10-27 - (bbc) - Concerns over shortage of rare metals
2010-10-26 - (wsj) - Rare earth shortages hit Germany
2010-10-25 - (mw) - Wealth initiates exploration at Argentina's largest undeveloped rare earth deposit - The 'Rodeo de los Molles' project in San Luis Province, Argentina
2010-10-21 - (ki) - Gold-en opportunities in rare earth element pricing
2010-10-21 - (mw) - American Rare Earths & Materials announces its entry into the industrial market for rare earth metals
2010-10-21 - (mw) - Search reports high concentrations of HREE from HighREE Island in the Port Hope Simpson REE District, Labrador
2010-10-18 - (reu) - China to remain top rare earth metals producer: Silmet
2010-10-15 - (wsj) - Japan scrambles for non-China rare-earth supplies
2010-10-13 - (sa) - Rare earths: Elemental needs of the clean-energy economy
2010-10-12 - (pi) - Rare earth elements: the seventeen metals crunch
2010-10-08 - (mw) - The rare earths landscape - Gary Billingsley, Executive Chairman Great Western Minerals
2010-10-01 - (ri) - The billion-dollar rare-earth-mining club
2010-10-01 - (ng) - Replacing oil addiction with metals dependence?
2009-08-31 - (nyt) - China tightens grip on rare minerals

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