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‘Astronomical’ rare earth demand growth forecast

Research and advisory services firm Adamas Intelligence is forecasting “astronomical” demand growth for certain rare earth minerals in the 2030s and has said that the supply-side of the industry is unlikely to keep up with the growing demand.

Demand for magnet rare earths, such as neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium, is rapidly growing, while surpluses of cerium and lanthanum are growing.

In a new report, the consultancy forecasts that magnet rare earth oxide demand will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 9.7%. The value of global magnet rare earth oxide consumption will rise five-fold by 2030, from $2.98-billion this year to $15.65-billion at the end of the decade.

“When peering into the outlook for the next decade to come, it becomes quickly apparent that the rapid demand growth of the 2020s will soon be dwarfed by the astronomical demand growth of the 2030s – and therein lies the real defining challenge and opportunity facing the global rare earth industry today,” Adamas Intelligence said on September 28 .

The group warned that if the global industry continued to operate myopically – preparing, anticipating and investing only for a three- to five-year outlook – the rate of demand growth for magnet rare earths would soon reach “escape velocity” – a point in yearly demand growth where it is so great that it is simply implausible for the already-lagging supply-side to catch up and keep up.

To avoid this fate, investment was needed to develop new sources of supply and downstream value chains to convert that supply into metals, alloys, magnets and other materials used by high-tech industries globally.

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