Neodymium is a lanthanide that is used to make the strongest known magnets. It is also used in glass amplifiers for the titanium sapphire petawatt laser at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
It is a light rare earth element (LREE) used in high-strength permanent magnets, and other applications include use as a component of didymium for coloring glass and ceramics, astronomical instruments and glass lasers. Neodymium is primarily used in clean energy technologies as an alloy with iron (Fe) and boron (B) to form high-strength Nd-Fe-B magnets used extensively in high-efficiency, brushless motors in electric vehicles and in direct-drive generators. Applications include wind turbines; hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles; and energy efficient appliances.
Demand for neodymium in magnets depends on the global economic recovery and the success of “Green Economy” efforts in the United States, European Union, Japan and China. It is also a component of mischmetal used in nickel metal hydride batteries. 80% of global consumption of neodymium oxide (Nd2O3) in 2009 was for high-strength magnet applications; only 10% were for wind generators and hybrid vehicles. Neodymium use in clean energy is expected to grow with increasing market penetration of electric drive vehicles and permanent magnet wind turbines. There are limited substitutes for Nd-Fe-B magnets. Rare earth magnets constructed from an alloy of samarium and cobalt could work as a substitute, but these are generally more expensive than Nd-Fe-B magnets. At the component level, there are substitute motor and generator technologies that do not use rare earth elements.
Increased demand for Neodymium will lead to tight supplies in the short term, though additional mines outside of China may be brought into commercial production, reducing the potential for supply shortages in the medium term. There was a significant price increase for neodymium in 2010 and supply showed little increase from 2008 level. There is limited near-term flexibility for increasing global supply, despite stockpiled supplies. Demand for Nd-Fe-B magnets is likely to exceed producers’ ability in the short term. Neodymium is not recycled. Recycling from magnets in electric drive vehicles and wind turbines could become economical in the medium term. Recycling Nd-Fe-B magnets from consumer electronic devices is unlikely to be economic in the United States in the short or medium term.
Demand for Nd-Fe-B magnets is expected to grow faster than the overall U.S. economy. There is no large emerging competing demand for neodymium. Magnetic refrigeration and permanent magnet motors for home appliances could significantly increase demand for Nd-Fe-B magnets beyond the medium term. It is predominantly produced in China, which has instituted significant export quotas and tariffs on REEs for resource conservation and environmental regulatory reasons. new mines in Australia, Canada and the United States will provide additional supply, but are subject to strict permitting processes and environmental regulations.
Neodymium Producers Molycorp - http://www.molycorp.com/products/neodymium.html - Molycorp is a mining and marketing subsidiary of Chevron (NYSE: CVX) that produces neodymium, in addition to molybdenum and other rare earth elements.
GeoMega (CVE: GMA) - Montviel Rare Earth Element Project in Quebec
Great Western Minerals Group (CVE: GWG)
Metall Rare Earth Limited - http://www.metall.com.cn/nd.htm Lynas Corporation (ASX: LYC)
Avalon Rare Metals (TSE: AVL)
Ningbo Yunsheng (SHA: 600366) - Neodymium-iron-born magnets Arafura Resources (ASX: ARU)
Thorium Energy - Lemhi Pass rare earth deposits Medallion Resources (TSE: MDL)
(wiki) - Neodymium on Wikipedia
Neodymium News 2011-06-27 - (pi) - GeoMega drill results confirm Montviel as world class neodymium resource
2010-10-29 - (to) - Japanese university reclaims rare earth materials from Nd-Fe-B magnets
2010-10-26 - (mw) - Powerful Chorus(R) Motors end need for rare earth elements in wind turbines, hybrid vehicles
2010-10-26 - (mw) - Great Western Minerals Group expands rare earths processing capacity at Less Common Metals
2010-10-21 - (csm) - Top 5 'rare earth' minerals: What are they?
2010-04-10 - (ls) - Scientists race to engineer a new magnet for electronics 2010-03-31 - (tnw) - Eden Rare Earth distribution data support high neodymium and heavy REE potential
2010-03-23 - (mp) - Lanxess AG to invest $27.5M in neodymium expansion
2008-04-10 - (ri) - Ninja neodymium investors