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The deposits in Yangibana contains nine rare earth elements. Of these, Hastings Technology Metals Limited has identified a combination of four elements (neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium & europium) as having greatest economic value in relation to growth expectations in the near and medium term.

From Adamas intelligence forecast, the largest market sector and the area with greatest expected growth is in the high strength rare earths magnets sector.   Demand for Neodymium Iron Boron (NdFeB) alloy commonly known as permanent magnets will total 80,840 tonnes in 2015 and will increase to 115,162 tonnes in 2020 at a CAGR of 7.3% as demand for NdFeB magnets increases. Examples of such end-uses of permanent magnets are wind turbines (for renewable and clean energy), electric powertrain motors (for passenger cars and bikes) , hard disk drives (HDDs), optical disk drives (ODDs), headphones, speakers, medical devices and a slew of industrial applications amongst many others.

hastings speakers


Permanent magnets are magnets which retain magnetism even after the magnetising field strength is removed. While permanent magnets get magnetized the same way as electromagnets, they are made using rare earth which have very high retentivity which enable them to retain magnetism long after the magnetising field is removed. The first permanent magnets were made from magnetite, an ore of iron which gets naturally magnetised by the earth's magnetic field.

Neodymium-praseodymium are used in the manufacture of permanent magnets together with iron ore and boron. Laser crystals composed of neodymium, yttrium, holmium, erbium, and other rare-earth elements are used extensively in the aerospace, automotive, microelectronics, and medical industries for cutting, drilling, welding, and scribing. The radioisotopes yttrium-90, gadolinium-153, and dysprosium-165 are used to destroy cancerous cells, diagnose osteoporosis, and treat rheumatoid arthritis.

All these fit neatly with Yangibana’s main value component deposits. Because of the rare earths composition of the Yangibana Project mineralisation, Hastings is in a strong position to provide rare earths (neodymium, praseodymium and dysprosium) into the high value, high growth rare earths magnets sector of the industry.

Hastings also considers europium to be of significant potential to warrant its inclusion in the Company’s target mix because of its price and continued stable demand in the large phosphors market.


Specific end uses for Yangibana products would include:

Hybrid and Electric Vehicles – where the use of rare earths magnets (incorporating neodymium, praseodymium and dysprosium) as a replacement for traditional magnets allows the development of light weight battery-powered electric traction drive engines to replace standard internal combustion engines.   Rare earths magnets are used elsewhere in standard automobiles where their increased power allows miniaturisation of certain components. A typical hybrid vehicle contains around 28kg of rare earths.

Roadster 2.5 charging small

By Tesla Motors Inc. (Tesla Motors Inc.) [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Wind Power Generation – where the incorporation of rare earths magnets has allowed significant improvements in operating capabilities of the generators. Large wind turbines utilise 2 tonnes of high strength magnets containing up to 30% rare earths such as neodymium, dysprosium and terbium.

Plasma Screens, Computer Monitors etc – where europium phosphors are the only potential source of the primary colour red.

Energy Efficient Lighting – again, rare earths phosphors are used in energy efficient lighting.

Neodymium Equivalence

Having made the decision to concentrate its efforts on the recovery of these four important rare earths, the Company devised a neodymium-equivalent figure to portray the grade of the mineralisation in terms of the value of the four. 

The Nd2O3 equivalent (Nd2O3-Eq) values have been calculated based on the following rare earths prices. These prices have been established by independent consultants Adamas Intelligence and are being used by Hastings in the Pre-Feasibility Study evaluation of the project.

·         Nd2O3 - US$85/kg

·         Pr2O3 – US$95/kg

·         Dy2O3 - US$550/kg and

·         Eu2O3 - US$635/kg

Where Nd2O3-Eq =

((Nd2O3grade+((Pr2O3grade*(Pr2O3price/Nd2O3price))+(Dy2O3grade*(Dy2O3price/Nd2O3price))+(Eu2O3grade*(Eu2O3price/Nd2O3price)))

Such that Nd2O3 Eq = Nd2O3 + (1.1176 x Pr2O3) + (6.4706 xDy2O3) + (7.4706 xEu2O3)


Rare Earths Price Movements

Prices of certain rare earth oxides and metals rallied in the first quarter of 2015, namely those used in the production of NdFeB permanent magnets, such as neodymium, dysprosium, and terbium. From January to March prices of the aforementioned rare earths increased by 15% to 30% but have since given up most of these gains (and more), plummeting by 20% to 60% overall on a year-to-date basis resulting from slow buying in the second quarter coupled with the recent removal of Chinese export tariffs.

Prices of other rare earth oxides and metals, such as cerium, lanthanum, samarium, europium and yttrium (among others) have for the most-part trended continuously downward year-to-date as a result of over-mining resulting in abundant inventories and fierce competition amongst traders in China.

However, while prices of virtually all rare earth oxides and metals in and outside of China have fallen year-to-date, the prices of the rare earth concentrates in China from which most of these oxides and metals are produced have remained flat throughout the year or even increased in some cases, thereby reducing the margins of China’s major rare earth processing and separation companies.

As a result, Adamas considers that prices of several rare earths (Chinese domestic and Chinese exports) stand to regain significant momentum in 2016.

As evidenced by a rise in reported exports out of China in late-2014 and early-2015, Adamas believes buyers of rare earth oxides, metals, and compounds globally boosted their captive supplies in advance of China’s tax and tariff changes on May 1, 2015 as a means of hedging against potential price increases. This period of stocking up has since led to a relative absence of buyers in the market for certain REEs (neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, terbium, europium, and yttrium) over the past one to two months and caused the erosion of most REO prices to 2.5 year-lows, according to a price index tracked by the Association of China Rare Earth Industry.

Adamas believes that the Chinese domestic and Chinese export prices of certain REOs (such as neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, and terbium, among others) currently being quoted by traders and reporting agencies are a reflection of very low trade volumes, and are merely ‘bait prices’ that have been cast by traders to lure buyers back into the market. As end-users draw down the captive supplies accumulated in late-2014 and early-2015, and re-stocking resumes in the second half of 2015, it expects prices of many REOs will increase accordingly.

In addition it is believed that prices of certain REOs will increase in the second half of 2015 as end-users re-stock inventories. Once the recently-enacted resource tax changes percolate through China’s rare earth value chain, the net result will support a further increase in prices of certain REOs and REEs by increasing the price of the rare earth concentrates from which they are produced.


Adamas Intelligence extracted from “Rare Earths Market Outlook”:
1. Supply, Demand and Pricing from 2014-2020 – 1st October 2014, and
2. Supply, Demand and Pricing Update from 2014-2020 – 30th June 2015.


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NEODYMIUM
Applications
  • Wind turbine generators create electricity using neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets.
  • Neodymium yttrium aluminium garnet (Nd:YAG) are the most widely used lasers in commercial and military applications. It is used for cutting, welding, scribing, boring, ranging, and targeting.
  • Electric motors in hybrid "HEV" and electric vehicles "EV" use high-strength neodymium magnets to power the car.
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DYSPROSIUM
Applications
  • Dysprosium in Terfenol-D, is used to produce sonar sensors, positioning actuators, active noise and vibration cancellation, seismic waves, and tool machining.
  • Dysprosium phosphide (DyP) is a semiconductor used in laser diodes and high power, high-frequency applications.
  • A dysprosium additive to neodymium-iron-boron magnets increases the operating temperature range for use in hybrid and electric vehicles.
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PRASEODYMIUM
Applications
  • Welder and glass blower goggles made with praseodymium and neodymium oxides protect the eyes from yellow flare and UV light.
  • Vibrant yellow ceramic tiles and dinnerware, popular in the Mediterranean region, are the result of combining praseodymium and zirconium oxides.
  • Praseodymium oxide is a catalyst to make the most widely used plastic, polyethylene, for soda bottles, bubble wrap, food plastic wrap, sandwich bags and milk cartons.
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EUROPIUM
Applications
  • Taggant phosphors with europium are used as anti-forgery marks on the Euro and various currencies.
  • The primary use of europium is in phosphors used in pilot display screens, televisions (reddish-orange), and trichromatic fluorescent lights (reddish-orange and blue).
  • Europium EuB6 absorbs neutrons in fast breeder nuclear reactors to control the fission process.
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