The electric vehicle (EV) boom is now well underway and I have written extensively on the EV battery metals – lithium, cobalt, graphite and nickel; however, this time I will take a look at the EV magnet metals. These are coming under increasing demand pressures, due to demand for powerful permanent magnet motors, which typically contain neodymium, and praseodymium.
It has often been said – “Rare Earths are the “vitamins” required for the shift from a carbon based economy to the new 21st century electron economy.” This is why China has focused on them in the past and restricted their export, and dominate rare earths production. China also dominates rare earths resources and use, as they have successfully moved up the end use supply chain.
There are 17 rare earth elements – either heavy rare earths or light rare earths depending on their atomic weight. China dominates the rare earth industry with 105,000 MT of production in 2016 (NB: Australia is second with a mere 14,000 MT). China has recently cracked down on illegal rare earth mining and China is expected to put an annual limit on its rare earths production beginning in 2020. Both of these events help rare earth pricing, and should help support non-China rare earth companies.
Three rare earths are commonly used in magnets, used to help power many electric vehicle motors. Rare earth magnets are the most powerful of all magnets known to man, and mostly use neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr).
Source: Matt Bohlsen, Seeking Alpha