WASHINGTON – Responding to growing concerns about shortages of rare earth materials, a U.S. industry alliance is bringing together rare earth producers, users and researchers to forge a strategy for coping with shortages while advancing technologies that rely on the materials.
The Rare Earth Technology Alliance held its inaugural meeting here on Wednesday (Oct. 17) to map out an education and outreach strategy. The group’s formation was driven largely by concerns about shortages of rare earth materials used in a wide range of electronics and energy production. Experts worry that rare earth-rich nations like China could act to disrupt global supply chains.
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“The rare earth industry will be facing many interesting challenges over the next few years, including growth of the markets, the creation of new supply chains, and the need for universities to develop technical and business leaders,” Pierre Neatby of alliance member Avalon Rare Metals Inc., said in a statement. The alliance “will help the industry meet its goals by achieving results that individual companies would have more difficulty achieving on their own.”
Other alliance members include Boulder Wind Power, GE Global Research, Molycorp Inc., Quest Rare Minerals and Rare Element Resources. The alliance is also supported by the American Chemistry Council.
Neodymium block magnets are currently selling for
about $10 per cubic inch; Still about five times higher than two years ago. Our wind turbine magnets, N50 Grade 2 x 1 x 1/2 inch were $2.35 each. 24 required for a 6Kw turbine cost us $56.40 then. Now the same group will cost us $200 more per generator...for the magnets alone! Our product is still on hold.
Art Devine, Magnetic Arts Div. Escondido, CA
I suspect that China's game plan, once mines and production are running, will be to dump its material on the market and force them out of business. Then repeat.
It's called the "free market" a euphemism for monopoly.
The article contains glaring omissions in the membership of the alliance. A full list can be found here:
Arnold Magnetic Technologies
Avalon Rare Metals
Boulder Wind Power
Colorado School of Mines
Global Tungsten & Powders
Great Western Minerals Group
Iowa State University
Quest Rare Minerals
Rare Element Resources
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.