Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rare earth deposits occur in Canada and many other places besides China

Rare earth mineral deposits are actually widely dispersed throughout the globe. There are deposits in Canada and several companies are active including Great Western Minerals of Saskatoon and Matamec Explorations of Montreal. Great Western has some of the highest grade ores and a mill operating in the UK. For other Canadian companies see the full article.

The reason that China provides over 95 per cent of the minerals has to do with the fact that China committed to production and was able to produce and sell the minerals very cheaply. It made little sense to other potential producers to try to compete. Most of those that tried lost money. Users were quite happy since prices were low.

But with Chinese restriction of exports two companies that are close to full production are set to compete and prices could trend downward again. One company U.S.-based in Colorado, Molycorp Inc is set to restart a California mine. In Australia Lyna Corp hopes to have full production in a Malaysian mine by the end of this year.

Already prices of some of the metals have fallen far from their peaks. Lanthanum and cerium went from a few dollars for a kilogram in 2010 to more than 150 a kilogram in 2011. However at present the price is only about a third of that at 50 dollars a kilogram. In a few years it is expected to be about 4 dollars a kilogram as new mines come on line. For much more see the full Globe and Mail article.

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