Alkane Resource: Rare Earths
Rare earths, or rare earth elements (REEs), are a group of metallic elements in the periodic table which have diverse chemical, electronic and magnetic properties. These make them ideal for a range of technological and ‘green energy’ applications. REEs such as neodymium, praseodymium, didymium (praseodymium-neodymium), dysprosium and terbium are in particularly high demand for use in lightweight high-strength magnets. Demand for rare earth magnets, particularly NdFeB magnets, is driving the industry, with a forecast growth rate of 6-10% per annum.
The Dubbo Project (DP) will produce a high purity rare earth chemical concentrate (95% REO), which will be separated into high value rare earth oxides under a toll processing agreement with Vietnamese advanced materials company, VTRE. VTRE will process the concentrate offsite to produce both separated rare earth oxides and value-added products (such as rare earth metal alloys) to meet customer specifications. Initially only the high value rare earths used in magnets will be processed by VTRE, with lanthanum and cerium separated at the DP site and their oxides stored until markets improve.
The DP will be capable of producing up to 6,664 tonnes per year of separated rare earth product, but initially the production of high value ‘magnet’ rare earth oxides will amount to approximately 2,000tpa. With demand for magnet rare earths outside China forecast to be 15,000tpa, this will position Alkane as a significant global producer of separated rare earths and downstream value-added products. The production of magnet rare earths is expected to account for 85% of DP rare earths revenue, and around 35% of the total anticipated project revenue.
Rare Earth Applications
For more information on how Rare earths are used, click on the image below.
For more information on Rare Earths (FAQ)