Figure 6 Forecast Global Shortage/Surplus Supply in 2015 (+/- 15%)
Element  Tonnes  Projected Supply Status, 2015 
 Lanthanum  1,450  
 Cerium  21,475  
 Praseodymium  1,150  
 Neodymium  400  SHORTAGE
 Samarium  3,150  
 Europium  200  SHORTAGE
 Gadolinium  825  
 Terbium  105  SHORTAGE
 Dysprosium  1,500  SHORTAGE
 Erbium  25  SHORTAGE
 Yttrium  200  SHORTAGE
 Ho-Tm-Yb-Lu  1,180  
 Source: IMCOA, November 2011

Global REE Production

China's dominance in the international rare earth supply chain is a result of decades of market forces and changing global economics that saw resource production and many manufacturing activities move from high cost to lower cost regions. Over a 20 year period, China successfully developed, maintained, expanded and secured its REE monopoly.

Until the mid 1990's, the United States was the primary producer of REE. Even as recently as 2002, the U.S. was self-sufficient in REE including a complete supply chain. Eventually the United States could not economically compete with Chinese production resulting in the closure of the Mountain Pass, California mine.

Since the mid 1990's, China has maintained dominance over all aspects of the rare earth supply chain including: production; processing; consumption; and, R&D capacity. While a small tonnage of REE continues to be extracted in Russia, India and Brazil, China supplies 97% of the world's REE resources.

The global demand for REE in 2010-2011 is estimated to be 130,000 tonnes per year. The significant rise in demand for REE since 2000 has been the recognition of the value of REE in the fields of clean energy and high technology products. The global recession in late 2008 and 2009 reduced global demand for REE-containing products and China's manufacture of related export products.

Japan is the largest importer of REE occupying roughly 73% of global demand outside of China. The European Union countries collectively import roughly 13% and the United States imports roughly 3 % of China's REE production. Canada is on record as importing 274 annual tonnes of rare earths (cerium and lanthanum) principally from China and the USA.

Global demand/supply projections out to the 2020 period indicate an overall balance between the production of and the demand for rare earths (annual demand 200-240,000 tonnes versus annual supply of 240-280,000 annual tonnes). However, while overall demand is expected to continue to rise, a surplus of the light REE and a shortage of heavy REE are forecasted by industry experts. In 2016, global demand for HREE (specifically, Tb, Dy, Er and Y) is estimated to be 14,500 tonnes in contrast to a global production projection of 7,000 tonnes.

While there are a number of non-China REE mines that began production by 2012-13 (Mountain Pass – Molycorp and Mount Weld – Lynas), their REE resources are predominately LREE with limited HREE. Non-Chinese mines with significant concentrations of the HREE are anticipated to come into production after 2015-2016. In the meantime, the rest-of-the-world will continue to rely upon China as the sole source of HREE.

About US

WELCOME to the Canadian Rare Earth Elements Network, or CREEN. The CREEN website is hosted by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM). The purpose of this website is to act as an information clearinghouse for research, development and demonstration projects involving rare earth elements.

More About Us

Mines to Markets

REE Updates

It takes a remarkable amount of time, money and energy to find minerals, develop deposits, attract investors, perfect mineral processing and metallurgical flow sheets, build mines, extract the raw materials and eventually bring products – be they mineral or metal – to market.

Read More

Global Use of REE's

Global Use of REEs, 2010

Over the course of twenty years, when global production of REE became concentrated in China, science unlocked the unique characteristics of these minerals by demonstrating their invaluable use in high technology products, electronics miniaturization and energy efficiency applications.

Read More

Global REE Production

Global REE Production

China's dominance in the international rare earth supply chain is a result of decades of market forces and changing global economics that saw resource production and many manufacturing activities move from high cost to lower cost regions.

Read More