Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are any of the abundant metallic elements of atomic number 57 through 71, plus Scandium and Yttrium, of which the oxides are classified as rare earths.
REEs have unique physical and chemical properties and are irreplaceable components of many advanced electronic devices, products for energy efficiency, and innovations focused on reducing greenhouse gases. As such they are essential to many of the world’s emerging green technologies.
REEs are divided into two groups – Light Rare Earth Elements (LREEs), and Heavy Rare Earth Elements (HREEs). HREEs are extremely rare in economic quantities, and therefore they are more valuable than the more common LREEs.
Below is a table illustrating the current international price per kilogram of each REO on October 15, 2012 in USD, based on FOB surveys.
|LREEs $/KG USD||HREEs $/KG USD|
The United States Geological Survey has predicted that most critical REOs in terms of future supply versus expected demand are Yttrium (Y), Dysprosium (Dy), Terbium (Tb), Neodymium (Nd), and Europium (Eu). Based on the breakdown of REOs contained within the Kutessay II deposit and their respective oxide prices, these critical elements, with the exception of Europium, are likely to represent the majority of Kutessay II’s value.
Below are tables illustrating the rise of REO prices for Dy, Tb, Nd and Y over the past 2 years.
Dysprosium, Terbium, Yttrium and Neodymium Oxide Prices vs. Time*
*Prices are volatile, and subject to change regularly.
Yttrium Oxide Price vs Time
Terbium Oxide Price vs Time
Neodymium Oxide Price vs Time
The current world REEs supply is exported almost exclusively from China, but the Chinese demand for these elements is projected to match the domestic supply in the near future. If the projected demand for REEs comes to fruition, the rest of the world will be forced to secure its own strategic supply. In short, the near-term production of REEs located outside of China will be a crucial step in creating a greener future for the entire planet.