Sunday, December 10, 2023

Computer modelling indicates rare earth supply disruptions would have long-term effects

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are using a unique computer model to better understand the possible consequences of supply disruption in rare earth materials, Tech Xplore reports. They analysed the potential effects of three supply disruption scenarios on 10 rare earth elements, along with a handful of associated compounds, to determine the market effects. To conduct the analysis, which was supported by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency, they used Argonne’s Global Critical Materials (GCMat) tool. The results of the study highlighted which rare earth elements may be particularly vulnerable to disruptions. The largest price increases in response to disruptions occurred for dysprosium oxide, which is used in permanent magnets, specialty alloys and other applications. Didymium oxide, which is a mixture of neodymium and praseodymium, was also found to be prone to price surges. In general, the analysis found that in the case of temporary scenarios – a one-year export stoppage and a two-year mine shutdown – price impacts tended to extend years beyond the disruption period. Effects on production, capacity, and demand also could last longer.

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