Rare-earth Recycling-a Promising Way to Facing Rare-earth Shortage
Since its first discovery in 1983, Neodymium magnets have quickly entered and dominated many different industries thanks to their unique properties and wide range of applications. China has always been the largest exporter of their raw material, mainly the rare-earth element Neodymium, in the world due to its huge abundance and relatively low prices. However, China has greatly enhanced its control and greatly reduced the exports of Rare-earth elements due to quotas for the country’s internal use. Between 2009 and 2011, rare earth prices increased ten-fold. (See also Neodymium Magnets Materials Shortage in the Future)
In the event of REE shortages and price increasing, REEs are becoming the recycling priority. Until nowadays, the recycling activity level is still near zero. There are ongoing research activities into reclaiming REEs from the scrap generated in various end-use sectors (see Rare-earth Consumption and the Uses in Neodymium Magnets). Permanent magnet recycling seems to be the most promising way from a technical perspective, which could potentially benefit this high growth-rate sector.
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