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Adamas: China’s average rare earth oxide production costs will increase by approximately 4% annually

A new report from Adamas Intelligence—Rare Earth Pricing Outlook to 2030forecasts global rare earth supply and demand to 2030 under two scenarios to examine how oxide prices will evolve in the years ahead.

With increased government oversight and an ongoing crackdown on illegal rare earth production in China, Myanmar and the US have emerged as important sources of rare earth feedstock for China’s producers, without which the global market would currently be experiencing substantial shortages of rare earths used in permanent magnets, such as neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium.

Since November 2018, China’s HREO-rich concentrate imports from Myanmar have been cut in half as some Chinese provinces have started to restrict imports due to concerns that Myanmar is being used to launder illegally produced concentrate from China.

Stemming from these concerns, market participants in China indicate that Beijing may implement a comprehensive ban on imports of rare earth materials from Myanmar in May 2019—a move that will severely curtail availability of HREO feedstocks in China, adding support for higher dysprosium, terbium and gadolinium prices in the near-term.

Over the long-term, Adamas forecasts that China’s average rare earth production costs will rise steadily from 2018 through 2030 as higher-cost production capacity is brought online, and Chinese producers increasingly absorb formerly external costs associated with waste gas, waste water, radioactive waste, resource depletion and land occupation.

These cost increases will add support for sustained price increases for virtually all rare earth oxides produced in China, although the rare earths used in permanent magnets are projected to increase at the fastest rate as global supply struggles to keep up with rapidly growing demand throughout the approaching decade.

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