Rare earth metals or rare earth elements (REEs) are a relatively abundant group of seventeen elements found in the periodic table. The rare earth can further be divided into two categories—heavy rare earth elements (HREE’s) and light rare earth elements (LREEs). The heavy rare earth elements comprise the elements with atomic numbers 63 to 71, namely europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, and lutetium. The element Yttrium with atomic number 39 is also considered to be a heavy rare earth element despite its low atomic weight for having similar chemical properties.
Browse through the market data tables, figures and detailed ToC on the “Heavy Rare Earth Metals Market”.
Green Technology Industry is one of the major end-user industries to use rare earth metals. Rare earth elements such as neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium are key components in green technologies such as wind energy and hybrid electric vehicles. Prices for rare earths had been constant for the most part of the 1990’s and the mid 2000’s until the Chinese imposed a lot of restrictions on exports in 2011. The price of some critical rare earth metals, such as neodymium and dysprosium, increased by over 500%. Dysprosium is a bright silvery metal and is one of the most expensive metals on this planet. It has been marked by many countries as one of the most critical rare earth metals needed for future use. In 2013, Asia-Pacific was the largest market for the demand of dysprosium oxide, with a share of approximately 81.8%, and it is expected to increase at a CAGR of 15.4% over the next five years.
Terbium Oxide is stable in dry atmosphere, but reacts with moisture in the air to form a greenish oxide coating. Terbium oxide is expected to have the highest growth with an expected CAGR of 15.2%.Terbium is used in specialized applications where there is little or no alternative for it. Due to its paramagnetic properties, it is extensively used in biomedical applications such as MRI scanning and X-ray machines. In 2012, Terbium oxide held the highest market share of 85% in the Asia-Pacific region. The other regions include North America and Europe with an expected growth rate of 15.2% and 13% respectively.
Yttrium is a rare earth metal and is relatively abundant, and it occurs at an average concentration of 33 parts per million in the earth’s crust. Yttrium is generally sourced from mineral ores such as monazite and xenotime. The demand of yttrium is expected to grow in the future as the defence related applications for yttrium oxide are being developed. Yttrium is known for its use in efficient fluorescent lighting systems and bulbs. It is also used in the glass additives sector as a diamond stimulant. The demand of yttrium oxide was the highest in the application of phosphors and the demand for yttrium oxide in phosphors is likely to rise at 14.3 % CAGR over the next five years.
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