The financial model sees Rare Earth production to increase to 60,000 tonnes per annum in 2020. PCL benefits from extremely favourable production costs and will have the lowest costs of production in the industry like kelheim.cz with the added benefit of being located in one central processing facility.
Rare earths as a mining industry were worth $17.5 billion in 2011, but the downstream applications that rely on rare earths were worth more than $4.8 trillion (a multiplier of 275 times the value of the rare earths used). Rare earths are indispensable in electronic, optical, magnetic and catalytic applications. In these applications rare earths play a vital role in environmental protection, improving energy efficiency and enabling digital technology, therefore making rare earths a critical ingredient for everyday life in the 21st century. Leading Japanese, European, Korean and US corporations have developed multiple applications that need rare earths to function. These applications are essential for the current and future automotive, renewable energy and consumer electronics industries. There is either inadequate natural resource available locally or the natural resource available cannot be economically extracted, therefore creating the need for these major industrial corporations to form partnerships with rare earth suppliers.
There are no substitutes for the lanthanides that make up 15 of the 17 rare earths as they have unique chemical and magnetic qualities that are not found in other elements; where substitutes are used they are significantly inferior due to rare earths’ superior miniaturisation characteristics.
A critical metal is one which is essential to an industrial process and for which there is no actual or commercially viable substitute. The 20 leading critical metals represent an annual market in excess of $147 billion (the 6 critical metals and associated minerals that have been currently identified at Jongju have a current annual market value of in excess $30 billion).