Welcome to Australian Rare Earths
"Rare Earth Elements (REEs) can be regarded as the "vitamins" required for the shift from a carbon based economy to the new 21st century electron economy" -SLS 2008.
Almost half a decade ago studies of mineral supply risk by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and European Union, Rare Earth Elements (REE) in particular the "Heavy-REEs", were ranked highest as mineral raw materials of critical concern, given uncertain future supplies and their importance to advanced industrial economies. This H-REE supply deficit is still present in late 2014, however several near term suppliers of processed H-REE are likely to come on stream in 2015-16.
Balancing this lessening of percieved risk there is also widespread recognition, that although China has about 23 per cent of the world’s estimated rare earth reserves of 81 million tonnes, in terms of resource per capita, and exisitng and increasing heavy internal usage, China in reality (despite the common perception) is not well endowed and may need to limit exports to fulfill its own needs. In terms of L-REE and H-REE resources per capita Greenland and Australia are the likely leaders, however in-country bulk separation, refining and processing is yet to come.
As such the REE's are again becoming increasingly important commodities that have major strategic and "green" energy implications. From 2015 it is possible that the light rare earths supply gap will be filled but as yet there is still a looming heavy rare earth supply deficit.
It is germane to this discussion that REEs importance was recognised by China's ex-premier Deng Xiaoping as far back as 1997 when he demonstrated great foresight that characterised his leadership role when he commented: "China would be for rare earth metals what the Middle East was to oil". Since then China has established in practical terms a supply monoply where it produces over 95% of the global supply. China's dominance is now being actively addressed with Australian and to a lesser extent Canadian and USA companies at the forefront. However it is not certain that the ex-China players will be successful as witnessed by the preciptious drops in the market caps of the two leaders who have come under a great deal of pressure via social media and funding difficulties.
About Australian Rare Earth Elements
Australia, the lucky energy country, is one of very few that has large supplies of Rare Earth Elements, both heavy and light, with several ASX listed companies having sizeable, rich, world class, deposits totalling around 1/3rd of the world's known resources.
Over the last few years (2012/13/14) Australia has and continues to experience increasing opportunistic corporate activity, by and large emanating from China and more recently Japan and the USA, where cash strapped, resource rich, Australian ASX listed companies are seeing marked increases in overseas based companies on their share registers. However, as several ASX listed companies with substantial rare earth element deposits have been "front-running" the world's (ex-China) required REE supply increase, Australia will likely be the world's swing producer of both rare earth oxides and some refined metals in 2015/2016.
The situation outlined above has produced some wonderful investment opportunities, where investors, hopefully Australian based, on the back of recent marked falls in the light rare earths pricing and orchestrated social media attacks, may make useful gains.
Australian Rare Earths is an independent website dedicated to furthering research and discussion about Australian Rare Earth Elements exploration, mining, emerging export and (hopefully) downstream processing industry. If you would like to provide input to this website or its' sister site www.Australian-Shares.com please email us.
- China's current attitude
- Minerals of critical concern
- Alternatives to China's dominance
- World Rare Earth Elements deposits by Country
- Mt Weld (LYC): The world's richest rare earth deposit
- Dubbo DZP (ALK) The world's richest Heavy REE deposit
- Interactive Map of Australia's JORC REE deposits
- Australian Rare Earths Alternative Energy blog
The editor of Australian Rare Earths would like to acknowledge and thank Dialogix for their assistance in defining and tracking the various social media campaigns that have so heavily impacted the Rare Earth sector.