Industries worldwide depend on the supply of commodities from underground such as minerals and metals. The dependency of various high-tech-industries on rare earths is a recent resource issue.
The resource sector is pivotal to the world’s economy.
China is the world leader in mining and production of rare earth minerals and metals followed by Russia and the United States.
Rare earth metal production was on the rise in 2018, jumping to 170,000 metric tons worldwide from 132,000 metric tons the previous year.
Demand for the metals is increasing as renewable energy becomes more important across the globe. Rare earths like neodymium and praseodymium, which are important in clean energy applications and high-tech industries, are in the spotlight, particularly as electric vehicles and hybrid cars gain popularity.
Other factors, like the ongoing trade wars are also putting the spotlight on rare earths. Since China is the world’s largest producer of the materials by far, tensions between the countries are directing attention to rare earths supply chain issues.
Global production of iron, nickel, copper and other metal resources are in constant demand as construction, manufacturing sectors, and institutional markets drive forward in most parts of the world.