Could rare earth elements such as neodymium, terbium and dysprosium someday be critical strategic resources, as oil, natural gas and coal are today? That may be a stretch, but there’s little doubt that the market for these specialty materials, which are essential ingredients in a huge array of high-tech products, including EV components, is poised for major growth.
A study by Europe’s JRC concluded that six rare earth metals are at risk of shortage, especially dysprosium – the EU is expected to require 25% of the world supply in 2020-2030 to meet the demand for hybrid and electric vehicles and wind turbines.
Canadian producers of rare earths intend to secure their piece of this lucrative pie. The Rare Earth Technology Alliance (RETA) has announced the launch of the Canadian Rare Earth Elements Network (CREEN). This new collaborative network aims to accelerate commercial production and processing of rare earth elements (REE) in Canada. It includes mineral exploration companies, commercial and government laboratories, engineering companies and manufacturers.
CREEN will track REE research activities across Canada; establish an inventory of REE projects; facilitate collaboration; promote and disseminate findings; identify research funding opportunities; and produce communication products.
RETA released the following statement:
“A bold approach is being taken in Canada to assure its place in the race to meet worldwide critical material demands with the new CREEN program. The program’s goal of producing and securing 20 percent of the global production for separated critical rare earth products by 2018 demonstrates the critical nature of this market and its growing global impact.”