It will not exist in future without them!
They are essential to all new technologies, not substitutable. The more a product is innovative, the more demand for rare earths. In particular the aerospace sectors, automotive, refining, defense, electronics and green energy.
The supply of strategic rare earth metals is considered critical for European industry and the high technology sector because they are not substitutable. A shortage simply cause the cessation of production of a large number of common industrial products but also high-tech applications such as medical imaging, certain medicines, aeronautics or any other product requiring permanent magnets made from neodymium and samarium.
This led the European governing bodies to undertake a policy of security of supply of these metals. At this stage, the European Union has identified 14 strategic metals for its industry and some national governments have followed suit with the establishment of committees to study the possibilities. At COMES image in France, now under the auspices of the Minister of Industry Arnaud Montebourg who took full measure of the challenge for the reindustrialization of the country. The latter launched repeated appeals to industry to take into account this strategic aspect. Calls heard for some time, which suggests the limitations of this recognition by our leaders.
Currently, the issue of strategic metals supply remains at the stage of awareness and actions in Europe are limited to the publication of reports on the various options such as recycling. Globally, more concrete initiatives have emerged, like South Korea which undertook a comprehensive critical metals storage program for the future of the industry of the future. The appearance also new mining producers in the market, Molycorp and Lynas has allowed to relax a little the situation but in return, China which has the monopoly of the market, undertook a drastic policy of closing underground mines. This is what has contributed to the recovery of rare earth prices in the heart of summer 2013.
There is some confusion around these relatively new terms. Strategic metals – critiques- metals or metals are defined as such in relation to industrial needs and high tech. Of these metals, some belong to rare earths. These chemical elements may exist in abundance but their extraction is very costly and damaging to the environment-this is why they are called rare earths; the HREE and LREE are distinguished. Germanium and Indium are strategic metals but do not belong to rare earths.