The global rare earth elements market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR over 12.4 % from 2016 to 2024 (forecast period). It should reach around USD 16 billion by 2024.Rare earth metals have numerous applications in advanced products; such as nuclear batteries, television sets, tablets, military warfare, superconductors, etc.
Booming mobile devices have raised the demand for rechargeable batteries, thus pushing market sales. In addition, the demand for metal catalysts; like cerium (Ce) and lanthanum (La) is projected to propel the industry. The said catalysts find applications across industries comprising metallurgy, automobiles, and glass.
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Some factors; such as strict regulations, diminishing reserves, and complex extraction will pose challenges for industry players. Expansion in the automobile sector is predicted to further the demand for magnets, thus driving the market.
However, the recycling of rare earth elements from waste may provide excellent opportunities to them. Despite the multiple applications of these elements, the market faces challenges in the form of decreasing resources & feedstock. Also, eco-hazards associated with mining have coerced several nations, like China to prohibit excessive mining to prevent resource-exploitations.
The market is categorized into products, applications, and regions. Product segments include cerium, neodymium, praseodymium, lanthanum, yttrium, gadolinium, dysprosium, etc. Cerium led and accounted for significant shares in the past.
Lanthanum was the second largest segment. Neodymium is one of the essential rare earth elements and utilized in permanent magnets. The demand for permanent magnets has been rising fast, specifically in electronics and automobile industries.
Applications encompass catalysts, magnets, polishing, glass, metallurgy, etc. Metallurgy and magnets were the biggest segments and jointly accounted for substantial shares. Metallurgy would experience the fastest growth till 2024 due to the adoption of lanthanum, neodymium, yttrium, and cerium; which are mainly added to enhance metals’ physical features.
Geographically, the worldwide rare earth elements market is fragmented on the basis of Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, and RoW. Asia-Pacific was the biggest market in 2013. It is estimated to register the highest growth with respect to consumption. Regional demand could be fueled by growing applications in China, India, South Korea, etc.; among which China has the biggest resources. Chinese monopoly in the market is expected to record a decline.
Extractions and rapid urbanization across China also drive regional growth. The RoW consists of Latin America and the Middle East & Africa. It is anticipated to observe considerable expansion owing to its automotives & metallurgy industries. North America was the 2nd biggest customer base of the global market in 2013. It consumed more than 14 kilo tons the same year. However, this region can lose shares to the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia Pacific in the coming eight years.
Some of the major companies with the worldwide rare earth elements market are Lynas Corporation Ltd.; Indian Rare Earths Ltd.; China Rare Earth Holdings Ltd.; and Great Western Mineral Group Ltd. China Rare Earth Holdings Ltd. and Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare Earth Hi-Tech Co were the biggest suppliers of rare earth elements and together occupied about 33% shares in 2013.
Information Source: Grand View Research