Rare Earth Element (REE) prices have risen substantially in the last decade. Between October 2009 and June 2011, prices for all REEs rose 1,500 percent, and then retreated significantly during the latter part of 20111. Although there have been major fluctuations in price over the years, high prices are expected to continue until a chain of supply, processing and manufacturing has been established outside of China. Table 4 shows in part the rising prices along with fluctuations in 2008, 2010 and 2011.
Relative market values for REEs are highly variable and depend in part on the source quoted. Prices can also depend on the level of purity, which is determined by the specifications for any particular application. Pricing occasionally addresses individual metallic elements. However, most references cite REEs in oxide form. Rare earth oxide (REO) concentrates vary in their elemental mixes according to that found in their source deposits. REO prices vary accordingly and may not be comparative between one deposit and another. Concentrates range from near 40 percent REO to 99 percent REO. One source for current REE price information is Metal-Pages.
1Saywell, T., 2011, Molycorp’s mountain pass: A made-in-America solution: The Northern Miner, v. 97, no. 41, 1 p.