According to MetalMiner’s monthly rare earth index (a weighted average of 14 global rare earth metal prices) prices fell by around 30% over the past 12 months. Rare earth prices are expected to weaken in the short term amid a lack of purchasing by downstream industries.Resource Investing News report that ‘Producers are reportedly struggling with lower prices owing to high production costs, with some industry sources stating that a fall in prices is “inevitable” as the market battles with a surplus of supply and limited demand from downstream industries on the spot market.’
Separately Business Insider have published a photo essay detailing the poor environmental and safety conditions of an under-capitalised and labour intensive rare earth mine in China. The conditions visible in this report are closer to being stamped out following the formation of a major rare earth group in southern China. The area where the company is situated, Ganzhou holds 36% of China’s middle and heavy rare earth reserves according to the People’s Daily but has experienced over-exploitation since the 1970′s.
Related article: Are Rare Earth Metal Prices About To Rise?