Factors to consider in choosing Dysprosium
Traded Purities: 99.5% & 99.95%
Traded Forms: Metal & Oxide
Traded Units: 1-2.5kg bottles or 20kg Metal Drums
- High strength permanent magnets (used in hybrid and electric vehicles, electronics, hard disks etc.)
- Nuclear control rods
- Laser materials
- Ceramics for electronics
One of the 16 rare earth elements (REEs), dysprosium is primarily used in high strength rare earth magnets due to its ability to alloy with iron as well as its high magnetic strength over a range of temperatures.
Following the rare earth market’s surge in 2009 and 2010, when dysprosium metal prices peaked at over USD 3000/kg, prices for the dysprosium – and all REEs – have declined considerably.
While manufacturers have attempted to reduce demand for rare earth containing components, many alternative energy technologies, including wind turbines and electric vehicles remain dependent upon rare earth magnets.
Although concerns over rare earth supply shortages have abated over the past two years, China remains the supplier of roughly 90% of all REEs, including dysprosium.
China’s much discussed export quota and tax system, which limits the amount of each REE that can be exported each year, has come under fire from the WTO recently. Yet, to date, no changes have been made to the system.
China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), the department that manages the production and export quota system, however, did set-up an electronic pricing platform earlier this year in an effort to stabilize softening REE prices.
If changes to the export quota system result from a WTO dispute resolution ruling, it is expected that the MOFCOM will look to use a government-run pricing system, such as the new REE exchange, along with government stockpiling, in order to keep a grip on prices for the rare earth elements.
Due to its concentrated supply, importance to alternative energy technologies and severe limitations to possible substitution, few elements better represent the concept of strategic metals than dysprosium.
Currently, only about 1,500MT of dysprosium is refined worldwide each year. This accounts for only about 1 percent of all refined rare earth.
Although REE mines in the US, Australia and Canada have been ramping up operations in recent years, all suffer from a lack of the more valuable heavy rare earth elements (HREEs), including dysprosium.
Based on resource assessments, even if all the major non-Chinese mines that are currently under development come on-line by 2016, China will still account for over 80 percent of global dysprosium production.
The main use of dysprosium remains in neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets. Such magnets dominate the market for high-efficiency traction motors that are used in hybrid and electric vehicles, wind turbine generators and hard disc drives.
Dysprosium typically comprises about 3 to 6 percent of NdFeB magnets (by weight). Being stable over a range of temperatures and by reducing magnet weight by up to 90 percent, such magnets are critical to all hybrid and electric vehicles.
Demand for rare earth magnets grew at an average annual rate of 13.6% between 2003 and 2008, and the Industrial Minerals Company of Australia Pty Ltd (IMCOA) has forecasted that by 2015 over 95 percent of demand for dysprosium will come from permanent magnets.
According to research conducted into materials needed for critical energy technologies by the European Commission, demand for dysprosium will double by 2020, averaging an annual growth rate of 9 percent. Ultimately, the group predicts that this will lead to a 23 percent supply shortfall by the end of the decade.
The US DOE, meanwhile, believes that demand for dysprosium will likely exceed supply as early as 2015.
Another US governmental department, the Department of Defense has also recently listed dysprosium as one of six REEs that would be in immediate shortfall given a conflict scenario (predicted shortfall of 47,000 kilograms).
Investing in Dysprosium:
Following the rare earth boom that sent prices skyrocketing in 2009 and 2010, the market for REEs saw a substantial decline. While prices for many of the light rare earth elements have continued downwards in 2013, dysprosium and the HREEs have stabilized, in large part due to a growing chorus of concern over imminent supply shortages.
For this reason, reports by many organizations, including the US Department of Energy and European Commission, have put dysprosium at the top of their lists of critical materials facing supply constraints.
Given the various factors impacting the dysprosium market, particularly its limited availability, limited substitutability, use in high growth applications and concentration of supply, at current prices, dysprosium should be viewed as a very safe investment.
Both dysprosium oxide and dysprosium metal with purities equal to or greater than 99.5% min. (TRE 99% – Dy/TRE 99.5% min.) are options for those storing the material as an investment commodity.
Swissmetal Inc.s´ offer Four Rare, Strategic Metal Baskets – Basket A (Key Industry), Basket B (Solar & Energy), Basket C (Construction & Engineering) and Basket D (Defense & Aviation), which makes it now accessible for private investors to purchase and profit from the increase in demand over the years to come. Click here to contact Swissmetal for a free consultation on procurement & storage of this rare industrial metal.
Story Source: The above story was Published by SMH December 2013.