Rare Earth Metals MMI: Dramatic price increases last seen in 2012

The Rare Earth Metals Index (MMI) rose by over 17% month over month.

MetalMiner launched the entire MMI series in January, 2012. At that time, all of the rare earth metals began with an index reading of 100. By June of 2013, the rare earth metals MMI  plummeted to 29 and reached a low in 2016 of 16. In addition, the bear market for the entire complex lasted for over four years and didn’t really start to move until April, 2021. That four year bear market outlasted all other metal price slumps for both ferrous and non ferrous metals.
The Rare Earths MMI has continued to increase since April of 2020.
Buying organizations can track actual rare earth prices with a MetalMiner Insights subscription. 
Beginning in 2008, the media went mad for rare earths and the looming crisis of America’s dependency on China. Everyone knows rare earth metals go into green technologies – from batteries to electronics. The U.S. military also heavily relies on these metals and that’s why the DoD has added many of these metals to the nation’s strategic stockpile. 
The relationship between metal prices and mining projects
Most of the junior mining firms that launched projects back in 2008 – 2010 to help alleviate the world’s reliance on China, went belly up. Crashing rare earth metals prices never support mining projects and investments. Of course, at the same time, Molycorp, once America’s only producer of rare earth metals at its Mountain Pass location in California, also closed. The company sadly shipped “some of its most profitable assets” to China-linked Neo Materials Corp. Jeffrey Green, the author of that linked story probably serves as one of the most prolific commentators in rare earth metals circles. In addition, Green offers specific recommendations to alleviate American reliance on the Chinese. 
In addition, Green suggests a series of actions that the U.S. government can take. First, he suggests that the U.S. government reduce the red tape and bureaucracy in bringing new projects to market. This mostly refers to the permitting process. In addition, American rare earth producers would have a huge leg up in fundraising and market acceptance if the U.S. military awarded take or pay agreements. These agreements commit volume to producers for military systems requiring these metals. Last, instead of product substitution, Green suggests the US invest in “production technologies to increase its supply.” 
Some of these recommendations have come to fruition. Moreover, many of these suggestions also appeared in the Biden-Harris supply chain disruption task force.  The task force recommended incentives to support “sustainably produced strategic and critical materials”. Furthermore, the administration ordered the Department of energy to release a lithium battery “blueprint” to help develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain.
Unfortunately, moving to clean energy and green technologies will take a whole lot of money and commitment. Many of the components of the President’s plan have landed nowhere as the $7b earmarked in Build Back Better has not come to fruition.
MetalMiner Insights will launch a series of battery indexes in H1 2022. Sign up for Gunpowder, our quarterly newsletter to receive MetalMiner Insights product updates.
Actual metal price trends
The biggest mover includes terbium oxide up by nearly 22% to close at $2174/kg. 
Neodymium oxide increased by nearly 17% rising to $178389/mt.
 

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