Rare Earths JVs to Have Tough Time Making Money, as Oxide Prices Gain This Week

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While three rare earth oxide prices increased on MetalMiner’s weekly Rare Earths MMI®, the outlook for prices is a rather downcast one.

Why?

It all comes down to more production and ensuing supply. For example, companies such as U.S. Rare Earths (UREE) are pushing to be heard, stating that they’ve recently extracted a high concentration of heavy rare earths from the company’s Last Chance property in Montana, and that they hold more than 25,000 acres of mining claims in 3 western US states.

We said last month in our Monthly MMI®  Report that the WTO case that ruled against China is likely to bring down prices a bit over the medium to long term by some reasonable margin, but there have been rumors of a national Chinese stockpile of rare earth oxides, especially the heavy RE oxides – a more impactful factor for the moment, according to Zachary Schumacher, rare earths analyst at Asian Metal. “The biggest impact the WTO case has is it makes it so much harder to justify for investors to purchase stocks of JV mining companies now that the Chinese won’t have quota power over the long term,” he said. 

In other words, could be trouble for the likes of UREE.

In a more recent interview with The Mining Report, Schumacher tells investors to “wait for the moment when you see REE prices bottoming out. And we may be fast approaching that level. The future of REEs isn’t bad.”

That advice can be extrapolated to industrial buyers as well.

Key Price Drivers of the Weekly Index

The biggest mover on MetalMiner’s weekly Rare Earths MMI® was dysprosium oxide, which saw a 2.9 percent increase to CNY 1,750 ($280.79) per kilogram. Following a 1.6 percent increase, neodymium oxide finished the week at CNY 325,000 ($52,147) per metric ton. The price of praseodymium neodymium oxide rose 1.6 percent to CNY 325,000 ($52,147) per metric ton after falling 1.5 percent during the previous week.

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At CNY 22,000 ($3,530) per metric ton, the week finished with no movement for cerium oxide. Closing at CNY 4,200 ($673.89) per kilogram, europium oxide remained unchanged for the week. Following a steady week, prices for europium oxide closed flat at CNY 4,200 ($673.89) per kilogram. Lanthanum oxide remained essentially flat from the previous week at CNY 22,000 ($3,530) per metric ton.

Praseodymium oxide prices held steady from the previous week at CNY 580,000 ($93,061) per metric ton. Prices for rare earth carbonate remained constant, closing the week at CNY 25,000 ($4,011) per metric ton. Samarium oxide remained essentially flat from the previous week at CNY 18,500 ($2,968) per metric ton. Closing at CNY 4,600 ($738.07) per kilogram, terbium metal remained unchanged for the week.

At CNY 3,200 ($513.44) per kilogram, the week finished with no movement for terbium oxide. Following a steady week, prices for yttria closed flat at CNY 60,000 ($9,627) per metric ton. Yttrium traded sideways last week, hovering around CNY 290.00 ($46.53) per kilogram.

The Rare Earths MMI® collects and weights 14 global rare earth metal price points to provide a unique view into rare earth metal price trends. For more information on the Rare Earths MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.

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