The United States was once self-reliant in domestically produced rare earth elements, but during the past 15 years, the US has become 100 percent reliant on imports, primarily from China where there are lower cost operations. Except for a small amount of recycling, the US is 99 percent reliant on imports of rare earth elements and highly dependent on many other minerals that support its economy.
The US is more than 90 percent import-reliant for the following minerals: manganese (100 percent), bauxite (100 percent), platinum (94 percent) and uranium (90 percent). While import reliance may be a cause for concern, high import reliance is not necessarily the best measure. Looking at a matrix of diversity in the products and the number of elements involved, lease or ownership of mines and ores, processing, distribution and geopolitical dynamics, and prospects for immediate leadership, BCC research identifies the top 10 companies and other companies, government owned or in the free market that are competing in this rare earths market niche.
China’s control of the rare earth element market has come under increased scrutiny since 2010. Over the past several years, China has slashed its export quotas of rare earth minerals to cope with their growing domestic demand.
Responding to these growing concerns about shortages of rare earth materials, a US and international industry alliance is forming to bring together rare earth producers, users and researchers to script a strategy for coping with shortages while advancing technologies that rely on the rare earth materials. The initial meeting was held in Washington, D.C., on October 17, 2012. An initial goal is the creation of new supply chains. The US Department of Defense is taking steps to reestablish American rare earth independence.
This report provides:
- Identification of the top 10 companies in the market for rare earths, and the rationale behind these selections
- Factors taken into account, including technical innovation, market leadership, and commitment to this market via investment in products
To provide further information about this report, download the Complimentary Introduction, available here.