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Costs of Rare Earth Metals for Cleantech Applications to Reach $1.2 Billion by 2017

In testimony before Congress on September 21, Mark Smith, CEO of rare earth mining concern Molycorp, said that China, which now controls some 97% of the world’s supply of rare earth metals, will continue to limit exports of the valuable elements, restricting its supply largely to domestic customers.  According to a recent report from Pike Research, demand for rare earths in the cleantech industry will reach 12,920 tons per year by 2017, up from approximately 9,000 tons annually in 2011, which could place an increased strain on global supply for these emerging applications.  Supply uncertainties will drive the cost of rare earth metals to makers of cleantech applications to at least $1.2 billion by 2017.