Jack Lifton from the China Rare Earth Summit on the ‘extreme shortage of terbium and yttrium’
August 16, 2013 — Tracy Weslosky, Publisher of InvestorIntel interviews Jack Lifton, rare-earth expert and Founding Principal of Technology Metals Research, LLC, during his trip to China where he is presenting at the 7th International Conference on Rare Earth Development and Application (ICRE 2013) organized by the Chinese Society of Rare Earths (CSRE) and the China Rare Earth Summit presented by the China Rare Earth Industry Association. With his finger on the pulse of the rare earth world, Jack provides Tracy with a live update from the ultimate global rare-earths summit in Ganzhou, China (the heavy rare-earth capitol of the world) — where both the academic research-and-development world and the industrial world have come together to provide the most accurate and current status on REEs in China.
Jack starts: “It’s been a very eye-opening conference with a lot of numbers coming out that I had not heard before and numbers I didn’t think the Chinese were so anxious to disclose. We’ve all been talking about how the Chinese are restructuring and condensing the (REE) industry. But the Chairman of the Industry Association said there are currently, in operation or plan to be in operation by January 2015, nearly 40 solvent-extraction plants just in this region, which is the provinces surrounding Jiangxi; where the south China clays are. By 2015, the Chinese will have a capacity of 60,000 tons of refining. That is five times the official production of heavy rare earths, so obviously they are including the production of light rare earths as well.”
Jack also discusses the Chinese consolidation of the REE industry and the government’s effort to clamp down, organize, supervise and set production limits and what that may mean for REE producers outside of China.
The Chinese are predicting that even though dysprosium will be in balance until 2015, they foresee an extreme shortage of terbium and yttrium. When Jack spoke at the conference, he told attendees that China is running out of heavy rare earths. The country does not have any additional heavy rare-earth deposits and China does not want to use up what it has. As a result, the Chinese have expressed that they are prepared to purchase heavy rare-earth imports; however, Jack discusses the complexities and realities of such a move, as well as where he see the future potential demand for heavy rare earths to be.
Finally, Jack discusses the role of the United States and Canada. He explains to Tracy how North America has almost all of the best of hard-rock deposits of heavy rare earths in the world and the fact that consumer demand (particularly in East Asia) is the driving force behind the demand for heavy rare earths.
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Tracy Weslosky is the CEO of InvestorIntel Corp., a company that publishes InvestorIntel.com. A leading source for investors, entrepreneurs and industry leaders alike, InvestorIntel is ... <Read more about Tracy Weslosky>