New Life for Non-Asian Rare Earths? Molycorp, Lynas Corp. Hope So

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Sohrab Darabshaw, contributes an Indian perspective on industrial metals markets to MetalMiner. This is the final post of a three-part series on international production of rare earth elements.

The new March 2015 edition of Roskill’s Rare Earth Report said that has said the global RE industry was expected to undergo “significant changes” by the end of 2015 as new sources of supply come online.

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According to a report  by CBS’ “60 Minutes” about rare earth minerals on March 22, the federal government, as well as manufacturers of everything from smartphones to fighter jets, are highly concerned about the security of rare earth supplies from China. Following the airing of the program, shares in Molycorp, one of only a few North American producers of rare earths, leapt 22% premarket on Monday, the morning after the program.

While China and some of the other Asian nations are either consolidating or finding new avenues for rare earth mining, non-Asian rare earths players such as Molycorp and Lynas Corp. are reportedly floundering. Molycorp just reported fresh losses, as reported by MetalMiner. It reported net revenues for the last quarter of 2014 at $116.2 million, a 6% decrease from the third quarter. Full year 2014 net revenues were $475.6 million, a 14% decrease as compared to 2013. A combination of low RE prices and a high debt burden led to the lowest stock prices in 2014 for Lynas.

Clearly, there’s major churn happening the rare earths world, from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean.

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