Wind turbine-makers should get into mining to secure rare-earths

Wind turbine companies relying on direct-drive models need to get more involved in the rare-earth metals industry if they want to manage price spikes and the scarcity of permanent magnets used in generators, says Gareth Hatch, co-founder of specialist analyst Technology Metals Research.

Hatch says the price of neodymium, the key rare metal used in producing the magnets, has gone up by a factor of ten over the past 12 months, while the magnets have risen from about $40-$50 per kg to $250-300.

Neodymium price rises have been higher outside China, but even in the Asian giant, where supplies are currently mined they have increased sharply since the beginning of February — and magnet prices have also shot up.

Crucially, the availability of magnets has deteriorated, and lead times have gone up from eight to 12 Log in to read complete article.

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