Table of Contents
STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
Rare earths are a group of 17 metallic elements that have similar chemical structures with unique properties. BCC has followed the rare earth market for more than 15 years, reporting on all the latest technical and market developments. During this period, consumption of these materials has expanded by a factor of three and many new products containing these elements have been introduced. With this study, BCC Research continues its commitment to monitoring the rare earth market with a special focus on the companies actively engaged in the mining, separation, production, and distribution of rare earths.
This study highlights the details of the top ten companies and the details of their mines and products as well as technology advancements, executives and present financial situations of these companies. Some acknowledgement is made of how the geopolitical scene plays into the production and utilization of rare earths and the newer combinations of materials that are being investigated.
REASONS FOR DOING THIS STUDY
The first rare earths were discovered in the late 1700s, although commercial applications for these materials remained limited until the 1960s. During the last 50 years, due to the ongoing development of new applications, utilization of rare earths has steadily increased. Technologically advanced devices used in the automobile, defense, metallurgy, electronics and optoelectronics, chemical, energy, and other fields owe some of their outstanding properties to the presence of rare earths.
Once the United States was the world’s leading supplier but the mine was closed for environmental reasons. The Chinese then became dominant in production. The principal reason for doing this study is to provide an updated and comprehensive assessment of the rare earth producers, particularly as it relates to the evaluation of mining projects worldwide, current and future availability of rare earths, and the status of companies that may change the availability and pricing of rare earths.
This study will be of primary interest to all companies now in the mining, production and separation of rare earths, and to those companies that are developing new alloys and mixtures of rare earths for specific applications.
It will be valuable to those who:
• Manufacture, sell, and distribute rare earths and rare earth–based products.
• Are involved in the exploration and mining of rare earth elements.
• Develop technologies that utilize rare earths.
• Produce special alloys.
• Offer technical and/or marketing services to firms that produce high-performance materials especially in acquiring environmental permits and compliance with local laws.
Overall, this study applies to industry sectors such as metallurgical/mechanical, glass and ceramics, electronics, optical and optoelectronics, chemical, energy, life sciences, sensors and instrumentation, and consumer products.
METHODOLOGY AND INFORMATION SOURCES
Both primary and secondary research methodologies were used to obtain market data and analyze the overall market and market segments. All tables of composite production evaluation are referenced to the original report published by BCC Research as AVM018G in January 2012.
The technology section of this report is based on information derived from technical literature, related BCC reports, professional journals, the author’s field of experience, contact with embassy liaison officials, and online sources.
The original global market analysis was performed by analyzing 127 suppliers of rare earths, accounting for at least 90% of the global market. Data for each company were obtained by thoroughly analyzing Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, Internet websites, annual reports, industry directories, industry magazines and catalogs, government sources, and other public sources.
Additional data were obtained from the direct contribution of primary sources, including: company executives, managers, engineers and other technical personnel representing suppliers of rare earths and rare earth–based products; representatives of academia and trade associations; and industry market analysts.
Other sources of information include:
• U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
• U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Filings.
• U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
• European Patent Office.
• Company websites.
• Company annual reports.
• Yahoo Financial.
• Hoover’s Company Information.
• S & P Industry Survey.
• Bloomberg’s Businessweek.
In addition to utilizing the above primary and secondary sources, market growth trends and forecasts were compiled by gaining additional insights from relevant financial and market information, and relevant BCC Research reports.
BCC Research provides custom research studies tailored to our clients’ needs in areas related to the subject research material, but perhaps not covered in detail in this report. Please contact BCC regarding the terms and conditions of such services.
Anna Welch Crull, scientist, business analyst, and experienced consultant, is qualified in electrochemistry, polymers, membrane materials, and advanced materials. She a broad business background and has worked with BCC (now BCC Research) for 31 years and authored more than 115 technical/marketing and business reports, helped newsletters, and assisted in numerous special consulting studies and conferences for more than 35 corporations and intelligence for the U.S. government entities. She has worked for the U.S. Army Materials Command on rocket science, propellants, membranes, and explosives. Ms. Crull is a graduate of the School of Engineering, University of Mississippi and holds a Masters Degree in Chemistry from the University of Missouri.
This report provides:
• Identification of the top 10 companies in the market for rare earths, and the rationale behind these selections.
• Factors taken into account, including technical innovation, market leadership, and commitment to this market via investment in products.
When selecting these top 10 companies, BCC Research looked across the industry spectrum and selected the most active and significant contributors while recognizing that there are many other contenders. Some of these “significant others” are included but to a less-detailed extent than the top 10 companies.
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