06 May '11, 2am

Rare Earth Prices Spike, Relief May be Years Away

Rare Earth Prices Spike, Relief May be Years Away

Global demand for rare earth minerals has skyrocketed in recent years, driven in no small part by the popularity of hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius. At the same time, China -- which is home to the vast majority of the world's rare earth mining operations -- has been tightening its hold on the elements, resulting in a classic supply-and-demand price spike. Since 2009, prices for rare earth minerals have climbed to dizzying heights: According to the Wall Street Journal , minerals that sold for $10.32 per kilogram in 2009 now sells for $162.66 per kilogram. The New York Times' Keith Bradsher this week ran an in-depth look at the problem, noting in part: While the price inflation is a concern to manufacturers, consumers in many cases will barely notice the soaring cost of rare earths. Even though the materials are crucial to the performance of everyday equipment like automot...

Full article: http://www.greenbiz.com/news/2011/05/05/rare-earth-prices...

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