Engineering 101

Why Rare Earths Matter

Rare earths consist of 17 elements found in the periodic table. Miners find these elements clustered in geologic deposits. Rare earths are in high demand as we use them in many aspects of the green energy transition and modern life.

Elevated prices also lead to innovative new ways of working, from advanced extraction methods to more efficient resource use, encouraging competition. Since EV adoption has increased, innovation in lithium battery production has risen too. While innovation is evident in the broader lithium and cobalt market, it’s yet to become a problem in rare earths. The price of rare earths would have to exponentially rise before explorers and producers see innovation as a cause for concern.

These rare earths are also required to generate renewable energy. So, to meet this mounting demand from several sectors, global production must ramp up much harder and faster if it hopes to keep up.

The US recently passed a bill, ‘Restoring Essential Energy and Security Holdings Onshore for Rare Earths Act of 2022’. This aims to block defense contractors from using Chinese rare earths, which may benefit companies based in North America. The defense industry is a major consumer of the elements, and the US wants to avoid shortages and reduce China’s dominance in the sector.

Critical for EVs, view the report to see what individual auto companies are doing regarding rare earth minerals.

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