21 June 2011 | Angeline Albert
face higher prices for minerals used in phones, televisions and nuclear
reactors, following China’s efforts to minimise
its export of Rare
Earth Elements (REEs).
China produces about 97 per cent of the world’s 17 REEs, but
the government’s drive to decrease its export of these minerals, increase its
own consumption of REEs and shutdown any illegal or environmentally dangerous
rare earth mines that operate within the country dramatically raised prices in
price of the REE known as europium oxide, used to give the red colour to
digital colour screens in phones and televisions, has
more than doubled in a fortnight. Since the start of June, the price rose from
$1,260/kg (£777/kg) to a high point of $3,400/kg (£2,099/kg) two weeks later,
according to minerals intelligence provider Industrial Minerals.
The company, which provides daily REE prices, confirmed that
the price of dysprosium oxide, used to make magnets for hard disks, wind
turbines and military devices, more than doubled from $700/kg (£432/kg) to a
high of $1,500/kg (£925/kg) during the first two weeks of June.
REEs are also used in the catalytic converters of vehicles,
in small X-ray devices and in lasers used to treat conditions such as glaucoma
A report published in June by market research firm SBI
Energy said: “REEs are found in abundance worldwide but, to date, only a few
deposits have been found with sufficient REE concentrations to make mining them
The Chinese government’s efforts to stockpile REEs began in
2010 as part of its desire to meet its own needs.