technologyreview_Four years ago, manufacturers fretted that trade controls in China would lead to a shortage of materials used in making an array of technology products. But demand fell more than expected.
February 25, 2015
- Four years ago, some manufacturers worried that they would run up against a shortage of rare-earth elements, which are used to make wind turbines, certain light bulbs, computers, and many other high-tech products. Rare earths actually aren’t rare, but they are found in low concentrations, attached to minerals from which they must be separated. And most of the facilities designed to mine and separate rare earths are based in China, which limited exports of these materials in 2009 and 2010 (see
- ). A 2010 U.S. Department of Energy
- envisioned a possible “critical shortage” of five rare earth elements, especially dysprosium—crucial to the permanent magnets used in wind turbines and motors in hybrid or electric cars—between 2012 and 2014. But such worries seemingly dissipated without much fanfare. Why?
Falling prices Continue reading “What Happened to the Rare-Earths Crisis?”