Clean energy transition to fuel growth for China’s rare earths sector in 2022

The world’s dependence on China for rare earth elements has steadily decreased, but the nation is predicted to increase production, exports, and price for the commodity group through 2022, owing to rising global demand for renewable energy, writes.

China has historically wielded considerable power in the rare earths market, but its share of global production and reserves has shrunk as a result of years of aggressive mining. The 15 lanthanides, as well as scandium and yttrium, are among the rare earth elements, many of which are required for electric cars, magnets, and other sustainable energy technology.

The upward trend in China’s rare earths pricing, production, and exports will undoubtedly continue until 2022. According to researchers, the global rare earths deficit might endure until 2025 as countries work to transition to low-carbon economies.

According to the International Energy Agency, global demand for rare earth elements might be three to seven times higher than present levels by 2040.

China has increased its rare earths mining production limit by 20% year on year to 100,800 tons for the first batch of 2022, despite rising demand for renewable energy. The government publishes quotas twice a year, including mining quotas for both the more common light and heavy rare earths.

The Association of China Rare Earth Industry’s rare earths price index has risen more than 85 percent since June 2021, reflecting increased demand. Meanwhile, China’s rare earth exports increased by 38% to 48,918 tons in 2021, the highest level since 2018, according to statistics from the General Administration of Customs.

Due to environmental regulations and national policy, China is unlikely to considerably boost its rare earths production capacity, particularly for heavy rare earths.  For more than three years, the limit for heavy rare earth elements has remained constant. Heavy rare earth elements like dysprosium and terbium are essential for military and medical technology, but their manufacture may be very polluting.